Is the refrigerator in your home hiding any leftovers? There are probably few people who can say, "Nope, I don't have any leftovers at all." I too, struggle to deal with leftovers, and I sometimes find myself with a tear in my eye as I guiltily throw out food that I couldn't finish. Food waste has long been a challenge at the household level, and now it's also gaining recognition as a social issue. With this in mind, Game Changer Catapult is also working on a project to help solve the problem of food waste.
One day, I heard about Creative Cooking Battle (CCB), an event* organized by the CCB Working Committee and I knew it was an opportunity that could not be missed. So Game Changer Catapult put together a team and we participated in the challenge. I'd like to tell you about it today.
On September 5, we participated in the qualifying round for the Creative Cooking Battle. Our opponents were Kayac Inc., Cookpad Inc., and CyberAgent Inc. The competition began with the contestants choosing their ingredients. The ingredients offered to us included the typical foods that tend to get wasted. After rushing to grab our desired ingredients, we ended up with the following.
- Hiyamugi noodles
- Lettuce, cucumber, onion
- Fish sausage
- Thinly sliced raw pork
- Shrimp, cod
- Fried tofu
- Canned tomatoes
- Onion soup (powder)
- Chowder (heat-and-serve pouch)
- Cheese slices
- One small can of beer can
Since two of our four team members cook regularly at home, we were confident in our ability to improvise with food leftovers. This time however, we had to quickly come up a menu of dishes, along with a theme and a story to explain them, before cooking and presenting them right away. Needless to say, it's not something we do every day. Our team began to brainstorm ideas.
Here is the menu we created!
- Crunchy salad with fried tofu and shrimp
- Somen noodles sauted with shrimp and fish sausage
- Tomato chowder with a crispy fried tofu topping
- Cod in cream sauce
- Fried tofu and pork in a beer sauce
Due to the large amount of fried tofu we had to use, we decided to fry it again to make it crispy like a snack food. We tried to be creative by using it as an enjoyable texture, mainly in the salad, but also in the soup. Since we also got a small can of beer, we creatively turned it into a sauce for the pork.
Somehow we managed to complete our dishes in the allotted time. We were even confident about the taste of our food. We just had to wait for the judges' reactions.
The judges gave us good feedback with comments like, "All the dishes have great home-style flavors," "The presentation is very beautiful," "Everything is delicious, and the tomato soup in particular." One judge even said, "I get a sense of reliability! Not surprisingly, these dishes taste like a big company, like Panasonic!" LOL. What kind of dish does Panasonic taste like?
After the event was over, I realized that the situational challenges were what helped the teams to come up with so many creative dishes. I think the competition from the other teams and the discussion among the team members were what helped us to reconstruct a completely new menu from the available ingredients. (Conversely, I don't think one person could have been as a creative as the whole team.) This made me realize that even when trying to tackle the problem of food waste, it is important to come up with fun and creative dishes.
Although we were not able to proceed to the final round of the competition, it was a very valuable experience for us to take a fresh look at food waste and come up with creative solutions as a team. The dishes prepared by the other teams were also very delicious. In addition, we are now motivated to make progress on our food waste related projects, and will keep you informed of future developments. We look forward to your ongoing support.
* What is the Creative Cooking Battle?
The theme of this event is finding enjoyable ways to reduce food waste at home. Organized by the Creative Cooking Battle (CCB) Working Committee, the aim of the competition is to raise broad awareness of food waste. (Official website: https://ccb.kitchen/)