Reduce food waste, embrace slow food movement in support of sustainable consumption and production

November 9, 2020

MANILA, 9 November 2020 — Slow food enthusiasts underscored the importance of food waste reduction and management during the 25th episode of “Stories for a Better Normal: Pandemic and Climate Pathways,” with the topic “Waste Not, Want Not: A Food Waste Episode with Slow Food Manila.”

The online conversation hosted by Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda featured restaurateurs including Chef Kalel Demetrio, co-owner of Agimat Foraging Bar and Kitchen; Chef Waya Wijangco, owner of Gourmet Gypsy Art Café; and Chef Robby Goco, owner of Cyma Restaurants, who shared how they implement sustainable consumption and production in their restaurants and highlighted the importance of managing food waste.

Chef Demetrio, known as a “Liquid Maestro”, introduced the basics of foraging, as a way of processing indigenous ingredients into food, drinks, or condiments. He works with the local farmers, and uses low-technology and indigenous knowledge to make products from the unusual and rare fruits and vegetables so it will not be wasted.

“Back in the days kasi, everything is foraging. There are no groceries and fast food chains, so we tend to create everything on our own. In the modern times, we see the beauty of foraging kasi nakikita natin na it is unadulterated and all ingredients can be found in nature. Alam mo ‘yong quality kasi ikaw mismo ang nagtanim… unlike getting something from the grocery, it is an endgame na kaagad kasi it is already a by-product,” said Demetrio.

Chef Wijangco, a staunch advocate for inclusive employment, small enterprise, and support for local farmers,environmental conservation, tourism development, and education, shared how Gourmet Gypsy Art Café applied the rules of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle into the daily food preparation and other processes in their restaurant.

“Sustainability is a way of life. It requires mindfulness, consideration for others, the environment we live in, and the communities we interact with. It takes a lot of work and commitment, but it is the kind of effort that truly makes our world a better place to live in,” said Wijangco.

Chef Goco, fascinated by creating something out of nothing, has been innovating by using the entire animal kingdom, or ingredients from nose to tail and from roots to seeds, to make dishes for his restaurants. He explained the basics of menu costing and their back of house control points. He showed some dishes made from unused parts of meat and vegetables. He also demonstrated how to make tomato paste from overripe tomatoes, which are usually thrown away.

“As a chef owning 12 restaurants, ang pinaka importante sa lahat is when I go to the restaurant, I check the garbage kung ano ang laman, kasi pag may nakita akong produkto na hindi dapat nasa basurahan, I call the manager and tell them, “why are you not efficiently using your ingredients?” Because my secret is, if I know at the end of the evening na malinis ang basurahan ko, then I know my business is profitable dahil hindi ako nagtatapon,” said Goco.

Legarda, as an advocate of slow food and circular economy, showed several photos of the foods she prepared from the ingredients taken from her own home garden.

“We promote the concept of sustainability in our lives so that we can use our natural resources in a way that it is not wasted, or depleted. In this way, we teach ourselves to live properly and with respect for our nature,” said Legarda.

As an online discussion to promote health, environmental consciousness, and climate-adaptive practices, “Stories for a Better Normal” aims to change the mindset of individuals, families, and communities by demonstrating ways in which a ‘better normal’ can be realized within our communities.

This online discussion is organized in partnership between the Office of Deputy Speaker Legarda and the Climate Change Commission, with support from the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, The Climate Reality Project-Philippines and Mother Earth Foundation. ###