Cooking from waste without waste with Restlos Gluecklich

You might already know that we have a series called “Minimum waste - maximum taste.” In Minimum Waste it’s all about waste prevention and we believe that not only the way to a man’s heart, but also to responsible consumption goes through the stomach. Therefore, we invite chefs that think about how to fill up customer’s stomach as well as about the impact of the cooking process on our planet.

 

This time, the chefs came all the way from Berlin. They were simply the perfect fit for this event - you would hardly find someone more suitable than Restlos Gluecklich - a (former) zero-waste restaurant and NGO fighting against food waste. In Restlos Gluecklich, they cook solely from ingredients that are “unusable” (e.g.crooked veggies and fruits, food with damaged packaging etc.), yet perfectly fine to eat. They do not have a menu - the dishes are created every day based on what rescued food they get from a German organic retail chain. Apart from the restaurant, they work as an NGO that fights against food waste. Through culinary lectures and workshops, they teach people how to appreciate food more and waste less.



Did you know, that one third of food is thrown away globally every year? It’s not a surprise that most of the food is thrown away in Europe and North America. So, isn’t it about time to rethink our wasteful eating habits and learn how to waste less? 


How? Practical examples. The participants of the Minimum waste - maximum taste workshop cooked a four-course menu together with the Restlos Gluecklich team and German chef Inés Lauber.  The menu was cooked from “waste” and without waste. We got the ingredients from the Czech online supermarket Košík.cz. We only learnt what we’re gonna have one day prior to the event and therefore we had to improvise a bit (but that’s what it is about, right?). Not a single peel was wasted during the cooking process!



For starter we had a…shock. The guests were asked to peel the vegetables that we were about to use for the main course (potatoes, carrots, beetroots, red onions) and when they asked where should they throw the peels, chef Inés told them to give them to her - she would fry them and turn them into delicious veggie chips. Luckily we washed everything thoroughly beforehand! Surprised guests put the peels in the hot oil together with Inés and waited a couple of minutes for them to turn brown and crispy. Everybody was even more surprised how delicious it was!


As most of the “rescued food” is usually fresh produce, the next course was a salad. However, the star of the dish wasn’t a vegetable, but old bread. An old, hard bread can be used for delicious crutons when you cut it in little pieces and roast them a bit. Our salad was a variation of a Fattoush salad, which is traditionally topped with roasted pita bread pieces, but we did well with traditional Czech bread, too. Together with a delicious pomegranate dressing, lots of delicious veggies and herbs, it was simply yummy! 



The main course was called from roots to stalks. With this course, Inés was trying to show us that you can use all parts of most of the vegetables. Carrots are a beautiful example. We used the peels for the starter, we roasted the carrot itself with garlic and thyme for the main course and from the greens, we made an amazing pesto. The pesto was spread on top of a potato-beetroot purée. Who would have thought that an entirely veggie dish can be so good and fulfilling? 



What about the dessert? We played a bit with old pastry again. We got old croissants, but you could use basically any kind of sweet pastry. Once again, we cut it into small pieces, which we roasted with some caramelised sugar and turned them into a crumble. The crumble was the “cherry on top” of a yogurt triffle with berries and mango jam. The jam was made from very soft mangoes that 99,9% of the people would throw away. A deliciously beautiful end to our event.



What did we learn? 

- in case of most vegetables, you can eat the whole thing, including leaves, peels and greens

- old pastry (salty and sweet) doesn’t need to be thrown away immediately when it gets hard - how about using it for crutons or a crumble?

- be creative with the leftovers

- plan your meals, make a shopping list and don’t buy things you don’t need 

(Credits: Restlos Gluecklich)


The event was organized in cooperation with the Heinrich Boell Stiftung Foundation and The City of Prague.


Thanks to everyone involved!