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Rethinking Restaurant Food Waste with Matthew Jozwiak of Rethink Food NYC

If GAP threw away 40% of their clothes, there would be no more GAP.

matthew jozwiak

“How can we waste so much food while so many people in this country go hungry?”

You’ve probably asked yourself this question before. This very frustrating disconnect between food waste and hunger is why Matt Jozwiak chose to leave a career in some of the most prestigious kitchens in the world. Matt started Rethink Food NYC, a nonprofit dedicated to taking restaurant leftovers and using a network of trucks and cooks to transport and transform them into nourishing meals for nearby nonprofits.

Today, Rethink Food NYC is a shining example of how to build an effective, scalable solution to waste and hunger that has been eagerly embraced by chefs, business people, and activists alike. Matt shares how Rethink Food NYC got its start and why waste is such a pervasive problem in businesses. Even though no one is trying to waste food, they do. Matt explains the economic reasons why food that restaurants could donate is usually thrown away. We also discuss some of the biggest misconceptions about food waste and hunger and explore how good solutions to both problems have to start with respect and thinking holistically. We close our episode sharing ways that everyone can help reduce food waste and hunger in their community.

If you’re looking for an informative shot of inspiration and knowledge, this podcast is what you need!

Update: This episode was originally published before COVID-19, but since then, the work that Rethink does has become even more important. They’ve started using their model to keep New York restaurants afloat while also feeding people in need. In recognition of this timely and generous pivot, we’ve awarded them one of our Feeding Change Fund grants.

Show Notes

If you liked this, tune in to Redefining Black Food with Chef Mimi.