The Tasting Panel magazine

November 2018

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Page 34 of 124

34  /  the tasting panel  /  november 2018 W hile gratitude is always in fash- ion, November seems to be the timeliest month to give thanks as loudly and publicly as possible. While I'm thankful for so many things about our industry—the constant opportunity for discovery, the collective passion, and the camara- derie, just to name a few—the quality I appreciate most is the heart I've seen displayed over and over again in so many programs. The individuals behind these venues go above and beyond in using their skills not only to create incredible hospitality experi- ences, but to make the world a better place in any way they can. An organization accomplishing just that is NYC's Rethink Food, a nonprofit that aims to tackle two major chal- lenges at once: helping feed some of the 42 million Americans currently facing hunger and raising awareness of the fact that roughly 40 percent of food produced in the United States is eventually wasted. The organization, founded by former Eleven Madison Park chef Matt Jozwiak, works with heavy hitters in the city's food scene to collect what would otherwise be wasted, redistributing it to those in need after the food has been trans- formed into restaurant-worthy, nutri- tious meals by some of Rethink Food's superstar volunteers. Pietro Collina, East Coast Bar Director at NoMad and Eleven Madison Park, now sits on the orga- nization's board after getting involved through Jozwiak, who at one point served as a barback at NoMad. "Matt's done all the work—I just got to be a person who believed in his ideas, trusted him, and could connect him with the right people," Collina says. "Now I help voice Matt's mission to the spirits industry." Rethink Food's ambitious projects aren't confined to the kitchen, however. Thanks to Collina, Pernod Ricard will now serve as one of the charity's major partners, and with its help, Rethink Food has organized a cocktail competi- tion set for November 13 at NoMad. Playfully named Make It Twice—a riff on NoMad's parent company Make It Nice—the event will challenge some of the city's best bartenders to create cocktails using kitchen or bar scraps. For every Rethink Food drink sold at NoMad in the month of November , $1 will be donated to the organization, with Pernod Ricard committing to match the amount raised. The com- pany's leadership has also expressed getting placements for Rethink Food–inspired cocktails on bar menus around the country as a long-term fundraising strategy. While the organization's efforts have proven successful, Collina says its early progress was challenged by bureau- cratic hurdles. His advice, however, is for people leading similar projects to not get discouraged, as their individual actions can have a huge ripple effect within the industry. "My favorite part of working with Rethink Food has been seeing how much impact you can have just by evaluating your waste, analyzing how you utilize your products, and then making the right connections," he adds. As the Culinary Director of Rethink Food NYC, Winston Chiu (left) uses hard work and culinary creativity to transform unused food from grocery stores, restaurants, and farmers markets into nutritious, restaurant-worthy meals for people battling hunger. NYC's Rethink Food Epitomizes the Holiday Spirit Year Round Associate Editor Mara Marski is The Tasting Panel's resident bartender. PHOTO: DUSTIN DOWNING

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