What was served at Toronto’s first all-garbage food festival
On Wednesday night, a few hundred folks flocked to Wychwood Barns—to eat garbage. Trashed and Wasted, the city’s first rescued-food charity event, featured local chefs, brewers and distillers who made dishes and products using ingredients that typically contribute to the country’s $31-billion annual food waste problem. Organizer and Kensington Brewing Co. founder Brock Shepherd was inspired by those who have held similar events: during the 2016 Rio Olympics, Italian chef Massimo Bottura made meals using leftover ingredients to create gourmet meals for the city’s homeless, and Dan Barber first launched WastED out of his New York restaurant Blue Hill in 2015. Trashed and Wasted raised $2,000 for Second Harvest, Canada’s largest food rescue program. Here, a closer look some of the dishes and what went into them.
Sanagan’s Meat Locker
176 Baldwin St., 416-593-9747, sanagansmeatlocker.com
Pickled tongue and lamb brain on crostini
“We stored up lamb brains—which really have no flavour—made mousse out of them, and cooked it with mustard,” says owner Peter Sanagan. We also save lamb tongue, another part of the animal that isn’t popular. We treat it like beef tongue, which is commonly pickled—think of a corn beef flavour, but with lamb. The crostini came from the ends of bread loaves that we use for sandwiches at the store.”
Cinnamon chicharron with whipped lard and buckwheat honey
“When you dry out pig skin and deep fry it, it puffs up and gets nice and crispy. We make chicharron every Saturday at the store and sell it for $2 a cup, but we don’t season it like tonight. Traditionally, it’s always a savoury snack—never sweet. When you do whole-animal butchery and save pork fat, you can achieve a texture similar to sweet butter if you store it properly. We rendered the pork fat; then, when it cooled, we whipped it. And the honey is made from buckwheat flowers.”
Soap made using rendered lamb kidney fat, spent coffee grinds and essential oils.
888 Queen St. E., 416-828-1861; 206 Baldwin St., 416-551-2755, hookedinc.ca
Smoked mackerel and crispy fish skin onigiri
“We fried the skin of various fish: smoked mackerel, cured salmon, smoked salmon and cured Arctic char. We made fish stock using fish heads and bones, then cooked sushi rice in that instead of water. We stirred in sugar, rice wine and salt. We made caviar from the first Lake Erie fish of 2017. At Hooked, we always endeavour to use everything: we buy whole fish and save the carcasses, bones and heads. We also save the skin to turn it into dog treats—what we like to call ‘dog crack.’ We sell bags of it at the store for $5.”
996 Queen St. W., 647-748-4416, montgomerysrestaurant.com
Chicken tails with mustard
“After processing chicken, everyone discards the backs or ribs, but we save and deep fry chicken butts—the part of the animal that doesn’t get a lot of love,” says co-owner Kim Montgomery. “It’s like eating popcorn chicken or gnawing on chicken wings.”
O&B Events and Catering
401 Bay St., Simpson Tower, 9th Floor, 416-364-1211, oliverbonacinievents.com
Brown butter cauliflower on bannock crackers with toasted hazelnut crumbs
“I retained cauliflower stalks and peeled them right to the core,” says chef de cuisine Christopher Barrett. “Then I roasted them in a stock with cauliflower leaves, thyme stalks and cream before puréeing the mixture. Hazelnuts are very expensive—like $50 a bag—so I collected the crumbly bits from the bottom of a bag and toasted them. I also took some leaves from thyme stalks and fried them. We saved the tiny pieces of bannock that were left over from cutting loaves of it; we rolled them out into flat squares and baked them.”
Crispy prosciutto on bannock crackers with mushrooms and parmesan rind espuma
“We saved parmesan rinds, which people usually throw away, and made cheese foam from them. As for the prosciutto, we used what’s impossible to slice, shaved it by hand and fried it. I chopped up stems from different mushrooms—shiitake, oyster, king oyster and beech—and made a broth out of those. Then I added truffle oil to retain that earthly flavour. The result was mushroom duxelles, which is like a purée. After all, mushrooms are 90 per cent water.”
490 Queen St. W., 416-362-4111, arepacafe.ca
Vegetarian mechada on green plantain tostones and arepas
“This is similar to the carne mechada dish on our menu,” says owner Mark Lukacs, “but we substituted steak with green plantains in homage to the meat shortage in Venezuela right now. We can make four to five tostones from frying one piece of green plantain. And we made stew—the filling for the arepas—using green plantain skins.
My partner, and environmental designer, Eduardo Lee made these lamps out of tostone packaging. Each one is made up of about 70 bags.”
971 Ossington Ave., 416-962-8943, actinoliterestaurant.com
Spent-grain pickled kohlrabi seasoned with “our land and culture”
“The kohlrabi was pickled in a nuka bed—a Japanese method, and one of our preservation techniques at the restaurant—with spent grains from Burdock brewery,” says chef-owner Justin Cournoyer. “We smoked and dried beef hearts, then mixed the beef purge liquid that came from it with egg white to create beef miso—when you press that, you get tamari. Our currant farmer Gerrard was going to burn blackcurrant wood, but I saved it to get blackcurrant wood oil. I also collected the excess cherry juice from a bakery to get cherry vinegar, which I used to preserve various pickles: wild fennel seeds, pineapple weed, grand elder stems and parsley seeds.”
Rainhard Brewing Co.
100 Symes Rd., 416-763-2337, rainhardbrewing.com
Redemption Toast Ale made with bread from Blackbird Baking Co.
“It’s not a new thing to make beer out of bread,” says Derek Harrison, Rainhard’s events coordinator. Ancient Egypt did this thousands of years ago. Still, I believe we are the first in Ontario to do so. We crushed and mashed malted barley grains, which allowed the enzymes that live in the grains to break down the bread’s starches into sugar. However, the starch in bread is a lot more complex to break down, so we mixed it with barley malt to get the enzymes from barley and to allow the enzymes to eat through the starch. Technically, it’s a wheat beer, but it tastes more like an English ale with a bread-crust-meets-toasty-cereal flavour.”
Yongehurst Distillery Co.
346 Westmoreland Ave. N., no phone, yongehurst.com
Improved Vesper with Milky Whey vodka, Lillet blanc and charred orange pith bitter
“The Vesper cocktail was from the James Bond books,” says co-owner John-Paul Sacco. “It used an old kind of Lillet that’s no longer available, so we wanted to add bitters to the modern-day Lillet to get that original taste. Whey contains lactose, which can be fermented by only one or two kinds of yeast to create a smooth spirit. By working with Monforte Dairy and Escarpment Labs, we developed a vodka made entirely from otherwise-wasted whey. The Milky Whey vodka has hints of vanilla and roasted nuts.”
Vodka soda with charred orange pith bitters
“We wanted to give tonight’s guests the option of a lighter drink. We put the Milky Whey soda on ice, topped it with soda and garnished it with lime.”