Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
The fight against food waste has a powerful voice and ally in celebrity chef Ayesha Curry. The Food Network star is not down with the amount of food we toss out across the country, and is currently campaigning with food storage and trash bag manufacturer GLAD to help promote food safety and storage awareness in an effort to reduce food waste. That campaign brought her to Los Angeles for an eye-opening dinner with Salvage Supperclub that highlighted repurposed food waste in a tasty seven course meal.
At the Salvage Supperclub event, the real Chef Curry shared some of her top tips to better store food at home.
“With things like kale and lettuce and greens, when you bring them home from the grocery store, something as simple as wrapping them in a piece of paper towel and storing them in a GLAD container and sealing that airtight, it keeps it fresh for a week and then some. [...] A cucumber and a tomato actually don’t belong in a fridge, they belong on your countertop. They will last far longer than they would being put in your fridge.”
Curry believes that through her spreading the word on food storage, it can help contribute to a decrease in food waste as we understand more about our food. With food literacy being a major issue in this country and 40% of what we eat being lost — partially due to this lack of knowledge — having a public face like Ayesha Curry in the conversation helps generate more attention around this dire issue. Especially when we’re wasting up to $2,200 of food per household per year.
Curry also has been drawn into the world of converting food waste into tasty meals. At the aforementioned Salvage Supperclub dinner, chef Jessica Oost curated a beautiful seven-course offering that brought out the best in waste products from multiple sources. Below are some of the incredible dishes served at the dinner, each utilizing different ingredients that either ourselves, food banks, restaurants, or even supermarkets may throw away.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
We were drawn in right off the bat with a soup made from bruised and misshapen strawberries that would otherwise be thrown out by markets and farms since they don’t meet consumers’ desires for shape and color. They may look ugly, but the strawberries still tasted fresh and blissfully sweet, especially when paired with fennel fronds that we normally toss since we have no idea what to do with them. That, plus the excess bread from food banks, which have an overabundance of it (since literally everybody donates bread), made for a great first course.
This eggplant mole tasted like spicy, nutty heaven despite being made with “expired” peanut butter (most foods are still wholesome and useable after the expiration date, we just throw them out cause we freak out over the labels) and “imperfect” eggplants and cabbages. Again, just because it looks bad doesn’t mean it’s not delicious or nutritious.
My personal favorite dish of the night were these savory kelp noodles made with a frothy leek puree that utilized leek tops. I’ve been guilty of discarding these since outside of making stock, I have no idea what to do with them. Definitely going to try this at home now.
For dessert, we had a Pain Perdu made with a bright and flavorful guava puree. The guavas were excess from a local whose guava tree produced way too much fruit due to the rain in California this year. Turns out she wasn’t a fan of guava, and after giving away a ton to friends, still had plenty to donate to our delicious meal. The bread was donated from food banks again because of excess donations and they can’t use it all. Maybe bring in some protein sources instead, they could definitely use those.
All attendees of the innovative dinner walked away stunned at how you could transform literal pieces of trash into culinary treasures.
Curry mentioned before the event that it was her first time attending such a dinner, and based on her delighted reactions to each course, you could tell that she was enlightened to the possibilities with food waste in the kitchen as the night progressed.
Maybe Curry will begin featuring recipes using discarded ingredients like carrot tops on her shows to help spread the message of saving food waste to even more people. If so, that would be a huge plus on top of the campaign she’s doing with GLAD to combat food waste around the country.
Hopefully, Ayesha Curry’s efforts will inspire thousands of others to reduce waste in the kitchen as well.