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Film review: Wastecooking – Make Food, Not Waste

“One third of all food produced (1.3 billion tons) is never consumed”.

– World Food Programme

David Groß is a chef, film maker, activist and all round nice guy. With the car he’s modified to run on used vegetable oil (lovingly named The Wastemobile), and his mobile kitchen made from a dumpster, David embarks on a tour through five countries, leading by example, cooking, interviewing and educating along the way.


Throughout his European tour, David eats only what others call waste. This includes (but not limited to) eating leftovers, dumpster diving, foraging in nature, foraging in other people’s fridges, eating bugs, harvesting what farmers cannot sell due to the demand for perfect size produce and fishing bycatch.

From learning how to make a meal using leftovers (a skill that’s lost on newer generations) to growing and eating bugs, Wastecooking is a tour documentary that brings up many important issues. Sometimes, they’re hilarious, other times infuriating. Yes, it’s about food waste but instead of being preachy and accusing the others of being wasteful, David’s journey shares many forward thinking initiatives that combat food waste.


There are so many places in the chain where food is wasted, the end consumer being only a small part of the problem. Unfortunately, unless there are laws to combat it, companies are just not willing to give food away for free because it somehow hurts their bottom line. One of the places David visited has outlawed food waste and charities collect all the food supermarkets don’t want and distribute to the hungry. But as yoll see, even this solution is not perfect if it isn’t policed.


As a food blogger, I always have food in the house (and plenty of it) from food samples to ingredients for new recipes. I buy odd and unfamiliar ingredients that might not get used up. I could probably go the next two weeks without grocery shopping and not starve. I always love to make a food recommendation for every movie I review but this food movie is completely different. After this movie, you’ll want to go home and see what you can make from the forgotten contents of your fridge. That’s what I did.

The film is easy to digest, and surprising entertaining, offering working solutions that should be discussed worldwide. It’s a shame this movie isn’t in English because subtitles naturally deter a your average movie-goer but if you’re fine with subtitles, see this film. It’s important.

Wastecooking is playing at Resene’s Architecture and Design Film Festival in Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin and Christchurch, from now until July. For screening times, see their website and festival programme here.

For more information on Wastecooking including a trailer and worldwide screenings check out their website here.



All images used for purpose of review.

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I am Genie, a graphic designer/photographer obsessed with food and bunnies. I live in Whanganui, New Zealand with my husband, The Koala and our two rabbits, Kobe and Bento. I write about my hedonistic ways and I love the mantra "Eat well, travel often". I prefer not to write about myself in third person.


  1. This is absolutely true. I just watched an episode of Chopped where they had chefs use ingredients that people usually throw away. It was so enlightening! Thanks so much for bringing this to people’s attention!


  2. I’ll look forward to seeing this, thanks Genie. I pride myself on not throwing away food. Even leftovers can be frozen and repurposed if you don’t have time to eat it soon. My compost stock is an excellent example of using the peel, skins and vegetable ends that would normally get tossed into the compost bin, not to mention that it’s delicious!

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