Written by Michel Naoum

What do you get when you put together 7 culinary students from 7 different countries? In Lyon, the Institut Paul Bocuse’s Alliance hospitality program in May saw representatives from Japan, Canada, Ecuador, Taiwan, the USA, Finland, and Lebanon come up with a food waste awareness booth as their contribution to a “street food challenge”. They decided to do this given the limited number of people aware about this global issue.

The challenge? To create a menu which would waste nothing, showing respect for ingredients and using every single edible part available. Innovative techniques were key. It was not an easy task for the students, but with hard work and creativity, they got rather delicious results.

The project’s logo reflects the efforts they took to be responsible in their micro-business project. “Not that we actually re-used food, of course, but we prevented waste. We are young chefs, and we have a responsibility towards upcoming generations. Food waste is increasing more and more, unnoticed, and urgent action is necessary.”


So what was on the menu?


Pork tacos with dehydrated pineapple in place of the shells, with pickled onions and fried banana peel as garnish.


Unique vegetarian burgers with a rice bun. (Rice is one of the most frequently wasted foods!) The patty was a mix of mushrooms, carrots, and numerous other rescued vegetables, all tied together with a delicious Indian-Japanese fusion curry.

For dessert, the group partnered with the institute’s on-site restaurant. They collected bread and bananas about to be thrown away, and used them to make a wonderful bread pudding with rhubarb and blackberries. The objective of the dessert was twofold. First, they wished to show that there may still be hope for hard, two day-old bread! Especially for desserts. Second, they wanted to bring forward browned bananas, to prove that they remain edible. In fact, overripe bananas are sweeter, and are even better in such baked goods!

Rhubaberry Bread Pudding with overripe bananas and leftover bread

And finally, a refreshing drink to accompany this food-saving meal! As the main objective was not to let anything go to waste, certain ingredients from other dishes also found their place here. Pineapple was used to make a syrup, and pineapple and rhubarb skins were used along with mint to make an iced infusion.

The group hoped to bring to attention the unnecessary food waste which takes place in many homes on a daily basis. With creativity and a few more minutes in the kitchen, many great recipes are possible. The students are now leaving France, with plans to bring this experience with them to continue inspiring others.


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For tips on reducing your food waste at home, check out this article.