MELBOURNE | Want to know how you can eat at some of Melbourne’s top restaurants for just $1.00, and support a good cause in the process? On Saturday 5 March, Melbourne’s restaurant community will come together to show their support for the war against food waste by offering $1.00 dishes exclusively via The YUME App.
Some of Melbourne’s best chefs including Jesse Gerner (Bomba, Green Park Dining, Anada), Guy Grossi (Grossi Florentino), Joe Grbac (St Crispin) and Alejandro Saravia (Pastuso) are getting behind the event and will be posting a limited number of $1.00 dishes on the app from 3:00pm to 4:00pm during “YUME Hour”. All funds raised during YUME Hour will be donated to Melbourne’s four main food rescue charities: OzHarvest, FareShare, Foodbank and SecondBite.
What’s YUME you might be asking? Well it’s a new Melbourne based app from food waste warrior Katy Barfield (SecondBite, Spade & Barrow) that aims to provide restaurants with an easy-to-use tool to either sell or donate their surplus food. Katy hopes Melbourne – Australia’s culinary capital – will soon take the crown as the nation’s food-rescue capital and we had a chat to her about the YUME App and YUME Hour.
Tell us about YUME Hour.
YUME Hour is an exciting event we are hosting as part of the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival to shine a spotlight on the important issue of food waste! On Saturday, 5th of March from 3:00pm to 4:00pm Melbourne’s restaurant community will come together to show their support for YUME and the #waragainstwaste by posting exclusive $1 dishes on The YUME App. Dishes available during YUME Hour will be constructed using surplus ingredients (think Guy Grossi’s cassata gelato made using candied orange peel or Saint Crispin’s ‘Top to Bottom Salad’ of beetroot tops and bottoms, shaved carrot ends, roasted walnuts and celery juice). To take part in YUME Hour, simple download YUME on either the App Store or Google Play and make sure you open the app at 3pm on the 5th of March! Dishes are limited and it’s a case of first in best dressed so make sure you get in quick and reserve your offers.
You’re quite passionate about advocating for a fair and equitable food system. What kick-started this passion for you?
My maternal grandmother lived through WW2 rations in North London and with a family to feed she was the original waste warrior. On a small 2metre square allotment she literally grew everything to feed and nourish 6 hungry mouths and nothing was ever wasted! Bones became soup, potatoes were unpeeled and fat was collected from cooked meat to spread on bread in the form of lard. She passed her valuable learning down to her 23 grandchildren of which I am one and so I learned early on never to take food for granted and to be mindful of every morsel that was destined for the bin!
Do you think society has become more receptive to the ideas you’ve been campaigning for over the years?
Absolutely. 10 years ago food rescue was a new term and it took some explaining, people would look at me puzzled asking ‘is that legal?’. Thank goodness times have changed, and at a recent United Nations lunch delegates were served Burger & Fries made from ‘off-grade’ vegetables, re-purposed bread buns, bruised beet ketchup, pickled cucumber scraps and field corn fries!
How’s the YUME App going?
Any start-up is challenging but a tech start up in a relatively new area that requires people to take action everyday has brought a whole new meaning to the word challenging! The first company we engaged to build the YUME App were experts at marketing themselves as cutting edge and agile with Melbourne based developers on hand but unfortunately that’s all they were expert at and our reality was VERY different. It turned out that they off-shored everything and after 6 months of missed deadlines we were delivered an App that was littered with bugs, could not be built upon and basically didn’t work. So there we were $100K poorer with broken code, it was a dark time.
Luckily the YUME team and our investors held firm and together we raised additional funds, engaged a real Melbourne based developer and started to turn our vision into a reality! Now we have around 250 businesses signed up with nearly 3000 eager consumers ready to pounce on any deals as and when they are posted. We have some amazing ambassadors and exciting new App features in the pipeline. I speak for all of the YUME team when I say how truly grateful we are for everyone who has helped us on our journey so far.
I’ll admit that we’d not heard of it until last week. Is awareness (by both customers and businesses) an issue?
We have been laying low deliberately over the past six months until we were able to get the tech to a point we’re happy with. We finally have a product that we feel really comfortable marketing so we are ramping up our awareness campaigns. To all of your reader out there, please help us spread the YUME word!
How interdependent are YUME, Second Bite and Spade & Barrow?
They are independent in their own right however they are interdependent in the sense that they are all part of the same food waste puzzle. With 1.3 trillion kgs of food being thrown away globally every year and climate change firmly on the menu it will need a number of different solutions working together to make any impact on the food waste mountain that stands before us.
The beauty of YUME is that the possibilities really are endless. Now that we have mastered the tech, there are so many areas of our food system where it can be applied! Sadly, there are substantial leaks in every part of the food system from farm-gate to households. The vision is to evolve YUME as a platform that can be utilised wherever these leaks may appear. We’re very excited to see where YUME takes us in the next six to twelve months.