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Celebrity chef gets creative in the kitchen amid global crisis: ‘We were inspired by Pope Francis’

Despite 160 billion pounds of food being thrown away in the U.S. each year, 44.2 million people live in food-insecure households.

Despite 119 billion pounds of food being thrown away in the U.S. each year, 44.2 million people live in food-insecure households.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Food waste continues to be a major problem across the world. But one celebrity chef is looking to change that and feed those in need, one meal at a time. Massimo Bottura recently hosted a meal at a community center with entirely repurposed or discarded ingredients. 

Bottura is a world-renowned chef and now the United Nations Environment Programme Goodwill Ambassador, according to a program report. As part of this, Bottura is looking to educate others about food waste and feed people without homes, asylum seekers, and those with food insecurity. He does this through his nonprofit, Food for Soul. 

“All our projects are in the most neglected neighborhoods,” Bottura told Inger Andersen, executive director of UNEP, in a video. “We were inspired by Pope Francis who said, ‘Don’t do it in the center of the city. Go in the periphery. Those are the dark places where they need light.’”

Bottura recently showcased this by hosting a dinner as part of the Every Plate Counts Challenge, a challenge calling on professional chefs and home cooks alike to cut their food waste by 50% by eating more “saved meals” during the month of September. 

Despite 160 billion pounds of food being thrown away in the U.S. each year, per Feeding America, 44.2 million people live in food-insecure households, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

But Bottura’s efforts aren’t just fighting hunger. They also benefit the environment. Global food waste contributes to the changing climate, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste. UNEP reports that this waste alone contributes 8-10% of planet-warming gases. 

But you don’t have to be a world-renowned chef to creatively repurpose your food and cut down on food waste. All it takes is some creativity at home, like re-growing produce on your countertop, using the last bit of peanut butter in the jar, or even knowing how to keep your food fresh for longer. 

All of these are examples of great ways to cut down your waste at home.

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