Bangkok Hospitality and Chefs to Raise Together Awareness for Sustainable Gastronomy

Thailand, astronomy, hospitality industry, event

They are increasingly talks about waste in the world, particularly when coming to food consumption and consumption habits. “Numbers are scary. 400 million of waste is produced each year, 60% coming from Asia. And a third of produced food is wasted, which represents 1.3 billion ton per year”, said as a preamble Leisa Tyler, a writer and farmer who is part of the {Re} Food Forum which will take place in Bangkok on March 19 and 20.

The two-day symposium is exploring waste, farming and sustainability in the food industry in Asia and is the brainchild of chefs Duangporn ‘Bo’ Songvisava and Dylan Jones, who own and run the acclaimed Thai cuisine restaurant, Bo.lan, with writer Leisa Tyler. The event wants to bring together multiple stakeholders to discuss the future of food and food production in the hospitality industry in Asia.

“The idea of the {Re} Food Forum is to create awareness about how we consume food responsibly”, says Duangporn ‘Bo’ Songvisava. “It is about considering all aspects of food production, from environment and sustainable farming techniques, to packaging, waste and the use of indigenous ingredients”.

The event will be split into a series of events: a forum on its own where up to 40 speakers including scientists,
chefs, farmers, food historians and social entrepreneurs will give concise 10-20- minute inspirational
talks about ways to minimize the impact of gastronomy on the environment. “It is time to bring back proximity in food supply as well as learning to stop wasting fruits and vegetable deemed unfit because of their imperfect shape”, urged a representative from BIOTHAI Foundation.

For Duanporn Bo Songvisava, waste and standardization are also conducting to the disappearance of food products with former endemic products close to vanishing. “To rediscover endemic production, grow them again and make them available to consumers are also a way to help preserve our cultural identity”, she explained.

Participants will learn that minimizing waste does not necessarily mean low quality, unflavoured food. Just the contrary. One of the highlights of the [Re] Forum will be the preparation of lunches  cooked by a coterie of local and international chefs using rejected produce. On day one, Thai Chefs will cook leftovers from the Hyatt’s Sunday Brunch into a delicious – and hygienic- Monday lunch. On day two, food deemed as “Rejected! You’re just not pretty enough”, a clutch of Bangkok’s best chefs will cook these vegetables that due to being misshapen or too big or too small, are typically thrown away by supermarkets.

Alongside the two-day Food Forum, {Re} will hold a series of collaborative dinners and masterclasses with chefs. All exterior events will be run on {Re}’s core principals, including limiting waste, using only sustainable and local grown produce and working with Asian endemic ingredients, many which due to the onset of commercial farming, are on the verge of disappearing.

” Through the dinners we hope to show that using endemic, locally sourced – and even what is sometimes considered rejected – produce can still deliver a luxurious and world class dining experience”, says Leisa Tyler.

Prestigious collaborative dinners are planned to demonstrate chefs skills and provide an exceptional memory to participants. A series of small, intimate Masterclasses will also be held in conjunction with the Forum on Mar 19-20 at The Residence, Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok.

While raising public awareness over waste is an initiative to be praised, is however such a format -which looks very ‘elite-driven’ the best way to showcase the problem? “It is true that the entry ticket for the dinner is expensive and this seems to eliminate potential persons interested to come”, acknowleges Siradej Donavanik, Director of Hotel Investment for Dusit International. “However, in our Asian culture, it is important to bring famous Chefs. They are considered celebrities and then will have an impact on the public. The price of the dinner reflects also the fact that they come from all over the world”, he explains.

“We need to start with a first initiative. I consider that our hospitality industry and restaurateurs can be a driving force in the way to change habits. Through this forum, we will certainly reach to the grassroots of our hospitality industry as we will set up new practices which will certainly be emulated by others. Then, we can think of further initiatives to reach a larger number of people. Why not to have special events across our entire industry in Thailand or have a festival about sustainable gastronomy”, adds Siradej Donavanik.

“We hope that through the {Re} Food Forum, we can inspire people involved in food production to
start making the changes needed for a better and more sustainable industry”, says Dylan Jones.
“We hope we can prompt initiatives and show how the food systems, whilst part of the problem-
can also be part of the solution.”

{Re} is being run non-for- profit through the foundation, BIOTHAI Thailand. Any proceeds will be
donated to sustainable agricultural and food related charities and programmes in Thailand and
Southeast Asia.

Tickets to the Food Forum are already sold out, but you can secure your spots for guest chef
dinners and masterclasses on