Pop-up dinner parties in dumpsters fight food waste for charity.
The non-profit making a meal of past-its-prime food.
In hindsight, it was only a matter of time. Now, strong-stomached diners in search of the next hip food trend need look no further than the pages of Edible San Francisco and their story of Salvage Supper Club. After a few years in New York, this expanding pop-up dinner series has inevitably taken root in the Bay Area, to promote the use of bruised, overripe, or just plain overlooked and old ingredients, combining them into gourmet fare. Finally, in a somewhat questionable bit of symbolism, Salvage Supper Club is serving their feasts in the very place those ingredients might have otherwise ended up: Dumpsters.
Edible San Francisco recalls the recent menu ingredients at a SoMa installation of the series. Those were “wilted basil, bruised plums, past-their-prime tomatoes, vegetable pulp, surplus squash, whole favas (we’re talking even the tough outer layer), garbanzo bean water, dairy whey, sweet potato skins and overripe, peel-on bananas.” And while “These ingredients, some of the most frequently tossed food items in home kitchens, don’t exactly whet the appetite as advertised,” they write, “With the exception of the banana skin—it was hard to get past the slimy texture and scent of rot, even if the peel was reimagined as a crispy doughnut—it’s all finger-licking good.” Here’s that dish, by the way:
“The idea behind this multicourse, veg-forward tasting menu is for eaters to see the incredible potential many of us fail to see in our food,” says Salvage Supper Club founder Josh Treuhaft. “I want to engage people and get them excited about food waste prevention so we send less food to the landfill or compost,” he says. “The goal here is to broaden the scope of what is edible.”
Putting their money where their mouth is, proceeds from that Salvage Supper Club meal go benefitted local group Food Runners (of whom SFist wrote recently), a nonprofit rescuing excess food from restaurants, caterers, and corporations and routing it to shelter, soup kitchens, and seniors apartments.
Refinery 29 struck a skeptical tone of the project under the headline: “People Are Paying $125 To Eat In A Dumpster.” “While it’s all safe to eat… we have to say the menu doesn’t sound too appetizing,” they write.
The above article by Caleb Pershan first published on sfist.com in Aug, 2016.