Living greener is one trend that’s here to stay.
(ABOVE: 5,000 pounds of food waste was repurposed into lunch and dinner at the Roots on the Road conference. Courtesy photos)
Whether it’s embracing the waste not, want not mentality or vegetable-forward dining, culinary influencers and industry professionals agree that neither is a fad.
During the final day of the Dallas Arboretum Food and Wine Festival, the Chef’s Garden Roots on the Road Conference raised such topics as a way to learn and share ideas to cultivate change.
Saying no to a plastic bag or straw, upcycling furniture and clothing, and refusing to put food waste in the trash can are three sustainable trends on the rise.
Composting is also an age-old concept that is becoming more popular. Lauren Clarke is looking to make the eco-friendly lifestyle more inclusive with her company Turn Compost, a Dallas-based startup that’s diverted more than 17 tons of waste from landfills.
In addition to classes like Urban Composting Basics and Edible Landscaping, Turn Compost offers a resident subscription service, starting at $35, that delivers a clean, five-gallon composting bin each week and then picks it up when full.
Waste Not, Want Not
There’s a pretty common philosophy when it comes to the lifespan of food: When in doubt, throw it out.
However, did you know that approximately one-third of food grown globally is thrown away each year – that’s about 1.3 billion tons of food, according to a 2017 New York Times article.
Food and wine festivals like the one at the Dallas Arboretum also produce their fair share of food waste. To combat that, about 5,000 pounds of food scraps that would have been thrown out were transformed into a luxuriously abundant spread at the conference.
The same idea can be implemented at home: make a roasted chicken for dinner one night, create a soup with the scraps the next; instead of throwing away vegetable scraps, put them in a freezer bag and use them later for a savory stock.
Ethnic cuisine with no boundaries, classic comfort food, and a vintage cocktail culture that nods back to the 1940s and 1950s are ways Dallasites like to eat. But one of the most significant food trends industry experts are taking note of is vegetable-forward dining.
Randy DeWitt, who has helped develop several trend-setting brands like Whiskey Cake and Velvet Taco, said vegetable dishes are starting to take center stage on his menus.
Beth Rankin, with The Dallas Observer, said plant-based meats like The Beyond Burger and Impossible Burger have also found a home on several menus – even one of Dallas’ oldest steakhouses, Al Biernat’s, has a vegan menu.