Can the hospitality industry learn something when a French chef with a degree in logistics opens a no waste restaurant in London?
A GoFundMe project for a No Waste Restaurant caught my eye the other day. Djamel Cheurfa, a French-trained chef living in London wants to open his no waste restaurant because he is
"ashamed by the waste of food in restaurants."
Normally, I might think "here we go again," and suspect that Djamel will fight the same battles we have seen in previous such endeavors. Most pro-active restaurants struggle with issues like replacing highly packaged food deliveries with creative new methods for carting the food from the farm to the table, and the containers back to the farm for reuse. Cooking oils pose significant challenges, but there are solutions for turning waste oil to fuel on the market.
Composting usually plays a role: but in the city, restaurants have had to turn to creative solutions, like using composting equipment - usually with the caveat that the expense demands building a community of restaurants willing to donate food wastes that can serve no other use. Some adventurous restaurants have turned to worms, which I assume must be referred to among diners by the finer term "vermicomposting".
Djamel joins the belief that a lot of food waste can be reused to feed the hungry. But already he has run into an oft-cited issue: Charities that feed the hungry really don't want to deal with food waste. They have pipelines of donor food or use gifted monies to supply their charitable hospitality, so making the rounds of a bunch of restaurants and figuring out how to use a potpourri of scraps just isn't on their agenda.
Could a degree in logistics make a difference?After my initial bout of cynicism, I took a look at Djamel's resume and found that his initial degree is in logistics. I reached out to Djamel and he observes "I never though that my skills in logistic would help me as a chef when I first start but I realize how important it was to start with logistic (sic)."
Some of the best ideas arise from people who straddle two different areas of expertise. And the more people trying to find solutions to the ubiquitous problem of food waste, the better. So we are excited to see Djamel give it a try.
His efforts seem not to have gotten widespread attention yet, as he is far from his goal of 80,000 British Pounds (about US $105,000). But he has put his own money to use already. Djamel reports that he has found a small space which he is restoring with an investment of £5000 to serve as a licensed kitchen.
If you want to support Djamel to see what he makes of his vision, check out his No waste restaurant page on GoFundMe and share it with your friends.