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Zero Waste Food Conference - April 2017

"Imagine a system where nothing goes to waste and materials are constantly repurposed, a system where byproducts of one activity become the resources for another". This previous April saw the Institute of Culinary Education host a Zero Food Waste conference which looked at reimagining and repurposing food in an effort to eliminate the concept of waste in foodservice. 


In an effort to truly educate and share solutions conference organizers have made all of their conference related resources available to the public, including videos of the conference presentations and discussions.

The following 5 videos show the depth of the material covered. Videos are from YouTube and their descriptions are from the conference schedule.

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Keynote with Massimo Bottura

Massimo opened Osteria Francescana in 1995 in his hometown of Modena, Italy. Over the past decade, he has become the leader of the contemporary Italian kitchen. In June 2016, Osteria Francescana was awarded the No. 1 position on The World's 50 Best Restaurants list.

Through Food for Soul, the non-profit organization founded by Massimo, he aims to empower communities to fight food waste through social inclusion. His goal is to encourage public, private and non-profit organizations to create and sustain community kitchens around the world. Each project aims to bring a sense of dignity back to the table by promoting the values of art and beauty, encouraging solidarity within local communities and recovering food, places, and people. The Refettorio initiatives he launched during the Milano Expo in 2015 and the Rio Olympics in 2016 reflect this approach, offering a relevant template in rethinking food distribution and consumption.


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Reimagining Sustainable Restaurant Kitchens

Professional kitchens – both in restaurants and in institutions such as schools, hospitals, and prisons – can be made more energy-efficient and more sustainable in terms of their use of waste. Design and new technologies can contribute to creating better appliances and environments for culinary professionals.

Panelists: James Feustel, Elizabeth Meltz, Robert Laing, Sara Brito
Moderator: Alan Someck


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Reimagining Sustainable Connections Within Food Chains

Food chains – connecting producers to distributors, manufacturers, retailers, and consumers – play a crucial role in contemporary food systems. What improvements can be implemented in the connections among stakeholders to make food more accessible, affordable, and sustainable, while reducing overall food waste?

Panelists: Michael Hurwitz, Thomas McQuillan, Elizabeth Balkan, Eric Stone
Moderator: Fabio Parasecoli


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Repurposing Food Waste

Food waste reduction at each link of the food chain needs to go hand in hand with approaches and technologies to find new uses for what would be otherwise thrown away, from ugly vegetables to the by-products of food production. Scientists, chefs, designers, and consumers can all contribute to finding creative ways to implement a truly circular economy in the food system.

Panelists: Kate MacKenzie, Jehangir Mehta, Doug Rauch, Katy Franklin
Moderator: Andrew F. Smith



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Repurposing Spaces & Materials

Unused or underused spaces, such as abandoned lots and old buildings, can be transformed by architects, interior designers, entrepreneurs, and food producers – from urban farmers to DIY manufacturers. Such efforts also include construction materials, which can turn from waste into resources.

Panelists: Jonsara Ruth, Missy Robbins, Bill Hilgendorf, Dr. Robert Graham
Moderator: Steve Zagor




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Bonus Videos

Fabio Parasecoli explains the impact students can make in the food system.



Massimo Bottura explains the importance of addressing waste in the food system.