“How might we be useful, be inclusive and, share well to feed our appetite to make the world a better place?”
Last week I had the honour of speaking at a favourite ‘culture tending’ space, The Depanneur. It’s not so much a restaurant as it is a place where interesting food-things happen.
During my talk I shared stories that intersected my experiences of the last twenty years. Starting a restaurant to running a print shop to being a partner in an ad agency to animating and activating a betterment agenda in my communities.
During my talk I shared examples of how the Sharing Economy is animating our Food and vice-versa. The categories discussed included: Idle Food Redistribution, Meal Sharing, Kitchen Space and Equipment Sharing, Community Supported Food Production and Food Production in Public Spaces.
Len Senater, founder of The Depanneur prepared a meal based drivers behind trends in food:
1) The move towards more plant-based ingredients: It is now common knowledge that there are many ecological benefits to adopting a more plant-centric diets and eating lower on the food chain – it is much less resource-intensive and, when grown well, much more sustainable and even revitalizing for some ecosystems. The challenge is to discover ways to make these meals as delicious and satisfying (and carry equivalent symbolic/social/status value) as the meat-focused diet we have grown up with. This glorious grain, bean and vegetable bowl is a spectacular assembly of flavours and textures — crispy garlic and sourdough croutons, earthy kale and umami-packed mushrooms, toothsome wheat berries and creamy pinto beans — one of those dishes that just happens to be vegan, but does not call attention to the fact.
2) Exploring non-traditional, environmentally-friendly protein sources: For those really wanting to taste the future, the bowl was optionally garnished with a topping of crumbled C-Fu (aka TIP (Textured Insect Protein)), an alternative meat protein made from crickets. High in nutrition, low in cost and ecological footprint, insects may play an important role in feeding the future.
3) The innovative use of science to improve cooking: a carrot and ginger soup, but by using a bit of baking soda to adjust the pH, and a pressure cooker to boost the cooking temperature, it is possible to accelerate the Maillard (browning) reaction to create a soup with the sweet caramelized flavour of roasted carrots, but the smooth, delicate texture of boiled carrots. Science FTW! Just wait until the robots start cooking.
4) Supporting local food systems & economies: a side of crunchy coleslaw from local, organic veggies from the Sorauren Farmer’s Market, and for dessert we had some delicious pie prepared by Leslie Lindsay in the wood oven of nearby Dufferin Grove Park.
Every month The Depanneur invites a local food personality to talk about something that interests them while Dep founder Len Senater cooks dinner for everyone. I highly recommend you attending a future table talk – and I look forward to seeing you there.