I am an unrepentant Food Network junkie. Chopped, The Next Iron Chef, Iron Chef America, Alex’s Day Off, Secrets of a Restaurant Chef. Gimme, gimme, gimme.
Tonight I caught a show called The Big Waste. Bobby Flay, Michael Symon, Anne Burrell and Alex Guarnaschelli were given the task of cooking a four course meal for 100 people, out of food that was considered waste. That meant they were only allowed to use food that was discarded by food purveyors or farmers.
Holy moley, there was some shocking stuff in that show. According to info presented on the show 40% of the food produced in this country is discarded every year. 40%! As the chefs visit various stores and farms you can see there is nothing wrong with much of the food that is thrown away. Peaches discarded because of a small blemish, tomatoes that have a crack on the outside, corn that was blown over by the wind, whole chickens or turkeys that have a rip in the skin. When Alex visits the tomato farm and sees the compost pile of perfectly good tomatoes and peppers I wanted to jump through the screen and start scavenging.
Ann Burrell even goes so far as to accompany a freegan on a dumpster diving mission on the streets of New York City. I always thought the freegans were a bit off their rockers, but seeing the food that guy pulled out of the trash I can’t say that I blame them. Why pay for food when you can get perfectly good stuff free?
The chefs then gather their (free!) bounty and turn it into a five star gourmet meal.
If you didn’t see the show, I highly recommend taking the time to watch it.