Would you pay $50 to eat food scraps in a dumpster? Grad student Josh Treuhaft’s supper club offered up exquisite culinary creations by chefs from the Natural Gourmet Institute – all made from vegetables bound for the garbage bin. Last month, Treuhaft organized the Salvage Supperclub in Williamsburg, where guests were invited to sit at a long dining table set inside of a dumpster for $50 a head. But the cuisine wasn’t garbage – instead, six delicious courses made by gourmet chefs using overripe fruits and vegetables that shops and farm stands would normally throw away were served to call attention to the waste we discard every day.
A grad student at SVA studying Design for Social Innovation, Treuhaft has focused largely on waste reduction – specifically completely usable and healthy foods that get thrown out while others in New York go hungry. By turning these undesirable foods (bruised plums, overripe tomatoes and the like) into a gourmet meal, Treuhaft sent a message to the masses about these perfectly good (if not delicious) foods that were going to waste.
The food used was all donated by local stores and farm stands, slated for their trash since they were stale, overripe, or bruised. Chefs in training from the Natural Gourmet Institute were then given the task of transforming these ingredients into dinner. The menu included yummy dishes like eggplant babaganoush with roasted cumin carrot hummus on toast, warm spring salad with sautéed apples and toasted pecans and banana custard tart in an almond meal and pecan crust.
To set the stage, Treuhaft retrofitted a demolition dumpster into a 16-seat dinner module, complete with warm string lights and family style wooden table. The guests left satisfied, with a new perspective on salvaged foods.