Rethinking Food Waste: Transforming Edible Waste into New Dishes

Inspired by Sunway University’s commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) and Worldchefs’ Feed the Planet initiatives, the Sunway University Young Chefs recently published a digital cookbook on transforming edible food waste into new dishes.

The United Nations (UN) has highlighted that approximately 931 million tonnes of food are wasted each year. In its UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Food Waste Index Report 2021, 17% of global food production is wasted, with 61% from households, 26% from food services and 13% from retail. Food waste which increases food insecurity also has a significant impact on societies, economies and the environment. This is the aim of the UN SDGs, particularly Goal 12.3 - Global Food Loss and Waste, which is to halve global food waste by 2030.

Although food waste could be converted into compost; the Young Chefs have tried to repurpose edible food waste such as vegetable peels and scraps, into a new dish before it reaches the bins.

According to project lead Chef Soon Pau Voon, “the recipes shared in this digital cookbook reflect some of the practices in the culinary labs which can be easily reproduced in home kitchens.”

Divided into five sections: essentials, salads and soups, bread and bites, desserts and sweets, and drinks; the cookbook featured over 30 beautifully illustrated dishes and beverages by Chiang Sweetie, Christina Megan Liew and Sunway University alumna Alicia Tay.

The cookbook is already the national winner of the prestigious Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, under the category of B14 Digital, B22 University Press and D01 Food Waste; and has recently been shortlisted for the Best of the World award which will take place in Umea, Sweden in the latter part of 2022.