Save the fruits and veggies

Supermarkets, restaurants, bakeries, and even our fridges are filled with products that will end up in the garbage, although still good for consumption. Eat Save Love went on a glamourous rescue mission for these abandoned products.

 It’s the fate of that square shaped tomato, this oversized cucumber, an overripe pear, or even that yoghurt pot near expiry, that will forever be neglected in the supermarket fridge, unable to compete against fresher pots, that moved Diana Fayad and encouraged her to act. Thousands of people across the globe still face hunger daily, yet tons of food that is still good end up in our garbage every day. In Dubai, where she lived between 2010 and 2013, Diana was struck by that reality while wondering where the abundant leftover food ended up after each reception in luxury hotels. Back in Paris, where she has been working since, while experimenting some new recipes during her leisure time, she was glad to come across initiatives that tackled the issue close to her heart. Diana, fond of cooking since her teenage years, participated in a boot camp in Brussels under the theme of finding solutions against food waste. There, she came up with the idea for Eat Save Love, first thought as a gourmet restaurant, she eventually opted for a pop-up meal concept, during which gastronomy highlights savaged ingredients that still have it all good.

Mushroom tapas and zucchini hummus 

Diana wants to demonstrate that not only are those ingredients still good for consumption, but with them, it is possible to achieve culinary chefs-d'oeuvres. The energetic young woman decided to shake up mentalities, one city after another. First in Vienna, she built on her contacts with local NGOS to organize an encounter in an urban garden, during which women passionate about cooking, shared their recipes and prepared a tasting. Soups, mushroom tapas, moutabbal, zucchini hummus and chocolate cookies were a success and a few weeks later the enthused group gathered again, this time indoors, sheltered from the rain inside the same villa, around a delicious meal concocted with new survivor ingredients. Before every pop-up, Diana collects eggs, cheese and some bread; she explains that bakeries have to sell bread produced on the same day, they cannot sell that of the previous day, even though stalls must always be full to attract clients; the result is loads of appetizing pastries end up being dumped at the end of the day. With them, pudding and toasted baguette for dips will be prepared, and served along warm vegetables creamy soups or fresh verrines, with veggies even found in organic shops. In Beirut, beginning of January, to support Eat Save Love’s mission, a crowd gathered at Riverlane Park, sponsoring the occasion, and the chefs Tina Wazirian and Bob Deeb, assisted by a handful of volunteers and in partnership with Act4Tomorrow, created a gourmet meal for more than a hundred people who enjoyed it on a breezy evening under the trees. In the plates, eggplant rolls, cauliflower tacos, avocados and citrus fruits, oven baked potatoes and bruschettas took place next to copious beetroot, mixed greens and pomegranate salads. Recipes have to be improvised on the same day as ingredients are not known in advanced. Delighted participants, now ready to change a few of their eating habits, will be back for the next event that Diana is planning soon in Beirut.

Article originally published in L’Officiel Levant, April-May 2019 Issue