The average Kiwi household tosses over $560 worth of food per year, a collective 120,000 tonnes annually or enough to feed 260,000 people. Ben Barton, head chef of Scarecrow, an Auckland restaurant, grocer and florist, hopes to challenge chefs both at home and in restaurant kitchens to waste less by taking advantage of traditionally trashed foods. Barton says that if he can use what we usually throw away to create gourmet meals, we need to seriously reconsider our eating habits.

During the week of 21st to 26th September, Scarecrow will team up with Kelmarna Community Gardens, artisan bread producer Wild Wheat and Community Fruit Harvesting to create a menu using traditionally wasted food like offal, tag-2 secondary food, yesterday's bread and kale ribs.

"What does it say when society throws away food of such a quality and quantity that it can be used as the basis of a gourmet meal?" asked Barton, who hopes to change our attitudes towards waste by increasing demand for it.

The week will culminate in events aimed at highlighting the various aspects of food waste minimization. Scarecrow will offer a family style all-you-can-eat buffet dinner, "Waste Not Want Not Buffet", on Wednesday. During the event diners will have to pay a symbolic 'penalty' for leftovers if their eyes are bigger than their stomachs.


On Sunday, the restaurant will hold "Tea & Toast: Preserving Workshop with Community Fruit Harvesting", a workshop to demonstrate fruit preserving methods such as jam, jelly and curd using fruit collected from community fruit trees and local orchards. Most of the days jams and jellies will be donated to a local food bank. Community Fruit Harvesting is a charity that collects unwanted fruit from backyards and orchards and shares it with those in need.

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