The week that was (28 July 2016)

- You should read the Relae Sustainability Report. It’s most excellent – from how to recycle coffee grounds to grow mushrooms to why we need more filtered water and less bottled (these guys also have a policy of consolidating the un-drunk table water for cleaning).
Christian Puglisi explains his reasons behind it: “The mindset expanded from being focused on organic agriculture to looking at other parts of our business to make sure that we made the right decisions all over … Everything we do should have a sustainable and reasonable approach. Everything from how we differentiate our waste to what we invest in as a business needs to be focused on the long run and that all types of resources should be treated with intelligence and respect. Whether that involves using backsides of printed menus to take notes or re-fermenting wasted wine to vinegar we have implemented a mindset where everybody tries to make sustainable choices and finds a joy and pride in reducing our waste or consumption.”
So many great ideas. And this leftover wine to vinegar thing is a thing … I read it somewhere else very recently. I like the idea – it reminds me of a crazy fermented cheese dish I ate in the south of France – were they would pot all the left-overs from the cheese board to re-ferment in a crazy melange of hectic flavours. Just quietly, I'm hoping the vinegar taste a little better than the cheese did!

- While we’re on sustainability we should acknowledge Ronni Kahn and her Think.Eat.Save events held on Monday. Bravo to all involved. Waste is a huge issue. – “roughly one third of food produced for human consumption (approx. 1.3 billion tonnes) is wasted or lost.”
- And then on to NYC where Dave Chang talks to Wired about his “unified theory of deliciousness” - a theory he has devised on food inspired by advanced logic.
The theory itself is a little complex, and Chang tells it best, so you really should read the article - it’s about isomorphisms (“concepts that can be expressed in different ways while retaining their core form.”) and the way they loop back to the original “… if you can recognize that music, you’ll blow people’s minds with a paradox they can taste: the new and the familiar woven together in a strange loop.” I thought it was a great article, so thought-provoking.
On creativity: “I’m a big believer that creativity comes from working within constraints.”
On his spicy pork sausage and rice cakes: “I’d never seen a connection between Bolognese and mapo tofu before, but Joshua had inadvertently discovered this overlap between them. We hit the middle of a Venn diagram, creating something that incorporated enough elements of both mapo tofu and Bolognese that it could evoke both of them, while being neither one precisely.”
And then the Ceci e pepe: “I’m making this all sound like a very intellectual exercise. And creating this food can be just that, but eating it shouldn’t be. These dishes should taste seamless; they shouldn’t feel like math equations. In fact, the more obviously conceptual a dish is, the less powerful it will be … Ceci e pepe is too explicit. It’s telling diners what to think instead of letting them draw their own conclusions. The element of surprise is part of the magic.”
And of course those pork buns: “That’s what I was chasing, that split second when someone tastes something so delicious that their conversation suddenly derails and they blurt out something guttural like they stubbed their toe.”