Dunedin food show wows critics with leftovers


Every year Kiwi families throw away $870 million of food -- but now some of our top chefs are trying new ways of saving food from the rubbish and turning it into gourmet dishes.

Guests at the International Food Design Conference in Dunedin used scraps and leftovers from previous meals on Thursday to create a mouth-watering afternoon tea.

"It's stuff that would have gone in the bin, or would have gone in the compost, is now a meal for your family," Victoria Madison of the Revival Food Company said.

Budding chefs and foodies use a mix of vegetable stalks, leaves, and food offcuts to create cafe-quality savouries and tasty treats.

Every year, New Zealanders throw away 122,000 tonnes of food -- enough to feed the entire population of Dunedin for two years.

"So things like bread crusts, that banana that's gone a bit brown, you know, those apples that have gone a bit soft. And yet a lot of these foods can be reused," Jenny Marshall of Love Food Hate Waste NZ said.

Another challenge for food designers is to create healthier dishes, without turning off diners.

Their sweet task on Thursday afternoon was redesigning the humble chocolate muffin.

"So what we're trying to get less of is salt, fat, and sugars. But we still want it to taste delicious," said Otago Polytech Applied Business Lecturer Lesley Gill.

At the other end of the spectrum is a range of gourmet dining experiences at some of Dunedin's top restaurants -- the $180 a head, three-course 'Game of Flavours' ensuring the "design" and "tasting" part of the conference is well and truly covered.