Sustainable America Blog

Anthony Bourdain Is Producing a Food Waste Documentary

Chef Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain is adding his name to a growing list of celebrity chefs working to raise awareness about the worldwide food waste problem. It was announced this week that the chef, author and host of CNN’s Parts Unknown is producing a feature-length documentary called WASTED! The Story of Food Waste, in conjunction with The Rockefeller Foundation.

Bourdain is writing and narrating the film, which will debut at film festivals in 2017. It will feature several world-renowned chefs, including Massimo Bottura, who staged a food recovery pop-up at the Rio Olympics; Dan Barber, who launched wastED, a wasted food pop-up restaurant in New York last year; and Danny Bouien, a chef with restaurants in San Francisco and New York.

“This will be an eye-opener of a film that makes people and companies think twice about how they use and discard food,” said Bourdain in a statement. “Chefs are experts in this — food is a major cost, time to prep it is another. When we throw food away, we really lose. So we are scrappy about our scraps and create as little waste as possible. This is something everyone can do, too. And we’ll all be better for it.”

WASTED! will also highlight organizations and individuals who are on the forefront of food recovery and fighting to solve global food waste.

The documentary will be co-produced by Zero Point Zero Production, creators of the Emmy Award®– and James Beard Award-winning series The Mind of a Chef. “With access to some of the world’s most high-profile and successful chefs, and the expertise of The Rockefeller Foundation in food waste, ZPZ intends to produce a film that will fundamentally shift the way people think about food waste,” said Joe Caterini, ZPZ’s managing director and partner.

This film is the latest food waste initiative to be supported by The Rockefeller Foundation, which launched the $130 million, seven-year YieldWise initiative designed to systemically address preventable food waste in both developing and developed countries earlier this year. The program has already made grants to at least 35 organizations working on reducing food waste.

Wasted! isn’t the first documentary about food waste. Peg Leg Films delved into the food waste problem in North America in Just Eat It, a 2014 film that aired on MSNBC on Earth Day last year and is still screening in the U.S. and Canada.

Another mega-celebrity chef, Tom Colicchio, hosted Just Eat It‘s MSNBC broadcast and has also been involved in advocating for food waste reduction.

It’s encouraging to see culinary stars using their influence to elevate the issue of food waste, considering consumers are responsible for more than 40 percent of the food wasted in the United States, according to a report by ReFED.

We’re looking forward to seeing Bourdain’s take on the issue. Will his film prod more people to notice (and reduce) what they’re wasting at home? We think so.

Ready to start reducing food waste in your own kitchen? Sign up for our free I Value Food: Too Good to Waste Challenge!

How One Chef Fought Food Waste at the Rio Olympics
Q&A With Just Eat It Filmmakers
Top 5 Food Waste Trends

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By the Numbers

Currently 50 million households suffer from food insecurity, meaning that family members cannot always meet their basic food needs.

10 million people a year could be fed through the recovery of just one-fifth of food waste.

Only 2% of food waste is composted or otherwise recycled—62% of paper is recycled.

Consumers throw out about 40% of the fresh and frozen fish they buy.

The U.S. produced 208 pounds of meat per person in 2009—60% more than Europe.

Low income commuters spend a much higher proportion of their wages on gas—8.6% versus 2.1% at $4 per gallon.

Food prices rose 35-40 percentage points between 2002–2008.

Americans consume 25% of the world’s produced oil, but our nation holds less than 3% of the world’s proven oil reserves.

The International Energy Agency says greenhouse gas emissions rose 3.2% last year, with a 9.3% increase in China offsetting declines in the US and EU.

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