Emirati chef in West Asia food waste campaign - GulfToday

Emirati chef in West Asia food waste campaign

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Photo has been used for illustrative purpose.

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

With limited resources and ballooning populations, perennial food waste and wastage have yet to be surmounted on the global scale. For this, the United Nations Environment Programme-West Asia (UNEP-Waste Asia) has selected 10 leading chefs that include Emirati Musabbeh Alkaabi, for its “Recipe of Change” campaign.

Joining Alkaabi, in the military for seven years, before giving up his uniform for the cap-apron-chef clogs in the hospitality industry, are Ali Ghzawi from Jordan; Issa Al Balushi from Oman; Joe Barza, Leyla Fathalla, Youssef Akiki and Maroun Chedid from Lebanon; Tala Bashmi from Bahrain; and Yasser Jnedi from Syria.

West Asia which also includes Iraq, Kuwait, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen is home to 287 million locals and expatriates, according to most recent UN estimates.

In the “State of Food Waste in West Asia” released as a regional report from the “UNEP 2021-Food Waste Index 202,” it was stated that food waste in these countries ranges between 75 and 163 kilogrammes per capita generation year; and from research done each year and specifically during the Holy Month of Ramadan, between 25 and 50 per cent of food prepared always ends up in trash cans. Details of the UNEP-Asia “Recipe of Change” campaign were received from UNEP-West Asia representative/regional director Sami Dimassi.

Dimassi claimed that in most recent years, worldwide food loss and waste have been estimated at $1 trillion (Dhs3,673,000,000,000.00) per year.

He added: “The weight of food waste at consumer level in 2019 roughly equals that of 23 million fully loaded 40-tonne trucks bumper-to-bumper, enough to circle the Earth seven times (as per UNEP records). This occurs while 690 million people were affected by hunger in 2019 and three billion people were unable to afford a healthy diet.”

The 10 chefs underwent a “thorough screening process to ensure the right voices for the campaign.” It is important that their messaging and language used are understood by the majority. They were selected for their “great online presence and millions of followers.” UNEP tips for the prevention of food waste and wastage:

* Schedule a weekly “Use It Up Day” or “Use It Up Meal” to make the most of left-over ingredients.

* Designate a refrigerator shelf for “Eat Me First” perishable food.

* Write a shopping list and avoid bulk promotions.

* Measure portion sizes for rice, couscous and pasta.

* Share left-over food with friends and neighbours especially before departing for holidays and business trips.

* Tend and grow fruits and vegetables. Preserve or donate surplus.

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