08/30/2016 03:08 EDT | Updated 08/30/2016 03:59 EDT

Award-Winning Chef Dan Barber Makes Gourmet Meals From Garbage

Award-winning chef Dan Barber has been a longtime proponent of sustainable farming, beginning with his championing of the farm-to-table movement. But as his environmental focus turned toward food waste, he began experimenting with what GQ dubbed "trash-to-table."

Concerned that 40 per cent of all the food produced in the U.S. goes into the trash — a percentage that is comparable in Canada — Barber's gourmet meals are made up of "ingredients that were otherwise going to end up in the trash, or never picked from farmers' fields or most often not used in the American diet in any way."

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The executive chef of Blue Hill restaurant in New York City developed a menu made entirely of food waste, like his "dumpster dive salad" and his juice pulp vegetable burger in "remixed" buns, that were served during a pop-up event dubbed WastEd (as in waste education).

Barber says people enjoy the taste so much they completely forget that "they are eating something that would otherwise have gone into a landfill."

There was a similar event in Vancouver dubbed Replated, which also "upcycled" food waste into yummy meals.

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"There's a lot of misconception about what rescued food is or what food waste is. We’re not serving anything that’s rotten or questionable at all," organizer Elaine Cheng told The Huffington Post B.C. in late 2015 about the food they saved from rotting in farmers' fields.

"It just doesn't make sense to me that there's such an abundance of food and yet so many people are hungry."


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