As the world’s first Sustainable Cooking contest comes to a close, it’s clear that the Roca brothers didn’t have an easy task in selecting the contest finalists. In fact, the inaugural #Recipe4Change was an overwhelming success, receiving more than 2,000 recipes from participants in 30 countries. The outstanding quality of the recipes and enthusiasm generated on social networks made the task at hand even more difficult. In many cases, participants went above and beyond expectations, providing entries which demonstrated a passion for sustainable cooking and innovative food preparation. But perhaps most importantly, the contest helped highlight the issue of food security and the need for communities to think differently about food waste and consumption.
The culinary challenge launched in November 2016 with chefs, the Roca brother from the famed El Celler de Can Roca restaurant asked participants to provide recipes based on a series of different challenges all linked to sustainable cooking and food preparation. Working collaboratively with the Sustainable Development Goals Fund, the contest generated a great deal of buzz on social media thanks to the Roca brothers who as recent Ambassadors for UNDP have helped champion the issue of sustainable food and nutrition.
“What we eat and how we cook impacts our health and well-being, as well as our planet,” observed Joan Roca. Sustainable cuisine forms one of the cornerstones of El Celler de Can Roca, so the decision to host the contest was “a fun, easy and engaging way to promote something that we truly believe in. “
The Roca brothers themselves chose the best recipes from each of the five monthly challenges. Final participants were selected based on their exceptional ability to integrate the fundamentals of sustainable cooking into everyday food preparation. The winners of each challenge include:
The first challenge focused on reducing the carbon footprint in the kitchen. Specifically, underscoring the importance of efforts to decrease food waste, reduce energy consumption, and promote water efficiency to preserve produce.
The second challenge recommended the use of local produce. Inviting participants to visit farmers’ markets, verify product origin, plan seasonable menus, cultivate kitchen herb gardens, and reduce consumption of processed food
Healthy cooking was at the heart of the third challenge, the challenge emphasised eliminating processed food, integrating more colour into meals, and reducing salt consumption. Suggested practices included efforts to avoid frying foods in favour of boiling, grilling or steaming practices.
For the fourth challenge, the focus was on healthy and sustainable desserts which with reduced preparation can conserve energy and preserve the most nutritional aspects of foods. The challenge encouraged the use of organic and ecologic foods; avoiding processed ingredients; and reducing food waste with leftovers to create viable dessert options.
In the fifth and final challenge, the Roca brothers put the spotlight on Fair Trade. Among the recommendation was the use of products with the Fairtrade seal and showcasing efforts to reduce food waste and that avoid overconsumption and consider the carbon footprint in purchasing decisions.
The overall winner for the #Recipe4Change contest is… Amina Stella Steiner for her special “Korean Rice Balls” recipe!
Congratulations to Amina and the other finalists! And a big thank you to everyone who participated!