You might not normally order gelato with leftover orange peel in it, or tuck into shepherd’s pie made from alpaca heart. But for one hour this Saturday, some of Melbourne’s best chefs will serve an exclusive selection of meals for just $1 each. All of them will be made from food that would otherwise have been tossed in the bin.
The event is being run through the Yume app. It allows restaurants to sell their surplus food direct to the public at a discount, or donate it. All money raised during Yume Hour will go back into Melbourne’s four main food-rescue charities: OzHarvest, FareShare, Foodbank and SecondBite.
Creator of Yume and food-waste warrior Katy Barfield says the app is a new, efficient way to plug “leaks” in a national food system that throws away $8 billion worth of product annually. Just on its own, the food industry discards 1.4 million tonnes of that surplus each year.
“We’re all obsessed with food, in Melbourne particularly,” Barfield says. “But if every restaurant and every cafe in Australia put one kilogram of food on the app for sale, we could prevent 40 tonnes a day going to landfills.”
According to Pastuso chef Alejandro Saravia, food offcuts are far from “garbage”.
“All this can be reused safely and in really creative, clever ways,” Saravia says. “People are starting to think more about sustainability and taking care of our natural resources, and that means changes in the way restaurants and farmers operate. It’s a big eye opener for chefs.”
For Yume Hour, Pastuso will make a South American shepherd’s pie with slow-cooked meat offcuts, corn and potato puree – and alpaca heart.
“Here most offal goes to waste, but in my country, Peru, we use it a lot and really appreciate the heart for its high nutrition,” Saravia says. “We have a pretty good life in Australia, but in countries like Peru there’s all sorts of poverty, and people don’t waste as much.”
Pope Joan chef Matt Wilkinson will also serve an exclusive Yume dish. It’s a smoked-yoghurt ice-cream, once leftover from an old order and now topped with freeze-dried raspberries. Wilkinson will also offer the dessert to people who haven’t downloaded the app – for a $2 price hike.
“I’m not going anywhere until all that ice-cream is served,” he says.
For Wilkinson, embracing the Yume app is as much about good business sense as it is social conscience. “I use it to save money,” he says. “And really, all of us, whether we’re chefs or food writers, are to blame for the habits of the consumer. If we gave time to different meat cuts, other than the usual primals, less would be stockpiled or discarded.”
Still, Wilkinson admits: “We’ll probably always waste carrot tops.”
Here are five more of our picks from the Yume Hour menu:
Sage-and-beef meatballs with tomato sugo and polenta pecorino fries
Cassata Gelato made with surplus candied orange peel
Salad with beetroot tops and bottoms, shaved carrot ends, roasted walnuts and celery juice
Jamon croquetas made from pork offcuts
Chickpea-and-spiced-potato fritter with coriander yoghurt
Yume Hour will run on Saturday March 5 between 3pm–4pm as part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. To access the deal, download the YUME app on the Apple or Google Play app stores, order your food and collect it from a participating restaurant within the hour. All funds raised during Yume Hour will be donated to Melbourne’s four main food-rescue initiatives: OzHarvest, FareShare, Foodbank and SecondBite
A free “Wasting Away” panel will follow at 4pm at CAPI headquarters in South Melbourne featuring, among others, Katy Barfield, MP Adam Bandt, chef Guy Grossi and CEO of Melbourne’s Food and Wine Festival, Natalie O’Brien.