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How to Host a Salvaged Food Dinner Party

By Larissa Zimberoff

Want to have fun with friends and learn more about food waste? Try your hand at hosting a Salvage Supperclub, a dinner made from ingredients that would’ve otherwise been thrown away. The idea is inspired by a pop-up dinner series run by designer Josh Treuhaft and chef Celia Lam in New York.

Treuhaft and Lam helped us put together this guide to throwing your own salvaged food dinner party. If you have other ideas, please add them in the comments below.

Getting Started

Pick a date and location, preferably somewhere with good kitchen storage. Decide who will do the cooking. Recruit a friend to help.

Make your guest list and ask everyone to bring items that are being neglected, in danger of going bad or are beyond their sell-by date. Items like: carrot greens, limp herbs, the stalk and outer leaves of cauliflower, bruised fruit, stale crackers, etc. (Things not to use: expired meat, milk, or items covered in mold.) Have your friends bring their items over a few days before the dinner.

How to host a Salvage Supperclub

A scene from the original Salvage Supperclub. Photo: Tanya Bhandari

Creating the Menu

Make of list of the ingredients you’ve gathered, then use it to search for recipes and start building a menu. Lam suggests assessing your salvaged ingredients and thinking about what basics you can make from them. Start simple with soup, stocks and spreads, but don’t be scared to be creative or unconventional with a traditional recipe. (Check out Lam’s recipe for Roasted Parsnip, Apple & Potato Soup.) Think about what you can make in advance and heat later or serve chilled. Don’t make it too complicated. Remember, this is supposed to be fun!

If you need more ingredients, ask neighborhood restaurants if they have any scraps they can donate to your dinner. Visit your local farmer’s market and ask vendors if they have items that are ugly, bruised or being passed over that they will donate or sell cheaply. The remaining few items, if any, can be picked up at the grocery store.

The Timeline

The Day Before: Roast vegetables for soup and make pestos and stocks from vegetable trimmings.

The Day of: Print out a menu to highlight what went into each dish and who or where the donations came from.

During Dinner: Consider leading a discussion about food waste and swapping tips for reducing food waste at home. You can find lots of stats and tips right here on IValueFood.com.

The Day After: Compile the recipes, list every ingredient so you’ll know how much food was rescued from the landfill, and send to the attendees.

If you host your own party, we’d love to hear about it. Tag photos on Instagram with #IValueFood, share your story in the comments, or email us at [email protected]!

Larissa Zimberoff is a freelance writer based in New York City. She never tosses her broccoli stems and keeps her veggie scraps in the freezer. Follow her on Twitter/Instagram: @ibikeforfood.

Photo: Didriks via Flickr