'Landfill Salad' served at UN Conference

29 September by


One third of all food produced in the world ends up as waste, with food wasted by consumers globally valued at more than £259bn per year, which could soar to £388bn as the global middle class expands over the next fifteen years, according to figures from the UK government’s waste advisory body WRAP 

So, when 30 world leaders sat down to lunch at the United Nations this month, on the menu, created by former White House chef Sam Kass and prominent New York chef Dan Barber were; “landfill salad,” “chickpea water” and “repurposed bread bun.”

Kass said he had the idea in the run up to the COP21 climate change conference in Paris taking place in November 2015, at which Food Waste is not high on the agenda.

“It’s the prototypical American meal but turned on its head,” said Barber. “Instead of the beef, we’re going to eat the corn that feeds the beef. The challenge is to create something truly delicious out of what we would otherwise throw away.”

According to UN figures, more than a quarter ‒ 28 percent ‒ of agricultural lands around the world go to produce food that is lost or wasted, the equivalent of 3.3 billion tonnes of carbon responsible for climate change.

So Barber and Kass created a gourmet delight out of the compost heap!  The “landfill salad” was made from unwanted vegetable scraps salvaged from the waste of big food producers, rejected apples and pears, and dressed with the liquid drained from a can of chickpeas. “Spent grain bread” was baked from grain mash normally tossed out by brewers and distilleries.

“The long-term goal of this would be not to [be able to] create a waste meal,” Barber said. “You don’t do that by lecturing ‒ you do it by hedonism, by making these world leaders have a delicious meal that will make them think about spreading that message.”