At most New York City restaurants, you’d be hard-pressed to find a menu advertising wilted basil, past-prime tomato, and bruised beets as ingredients. But at the Salvage Supperclub, you’ll get just that. Oh, and the entire six-course meal takes place in a Dumpster.
Founder Josh Treuhaft, 32, launched the club in 2014 as a way to inform people about food waste and how they can squander less. “We use foods that ordinarily would have been thrown away,” he says. In a country that discards about 40 percent of its food supply, it’s a worthy effort. It’s estimated that the average family of four wastes up to $2,275 a year on food they end up tossing.
Treuhaft and his team keep this in mind when they plan their menu. One favorite recipe was a banana cream tart made of leftover chocolate-chip cookies Treuhaft rescued from a work event and blackened bananas bought at a reduced price from a local grocer.
And then there’s that Dumpster. It’s parked outside one of the dinnergoer’s homes, where it’s cleaned and disinfected. To add a touch of elegance, Treuhaft hangs tea lights and sets the table with matching place settings.
The dinner’s polished aesthetic shows that even imperfect foods can be used to create a special experience. “Getting people excited around waste is hard,” Treuhaft says. “It’s icky and makes you feel kind of guilty.” But each dinner has a similar effect on diners: “Attitudes change and minds shift,” he says. “There’s a conversation that has a ripple effect beyond the people in the Dumpster.”