For three weeks last March, farm-to-table trailblazer, Dan Barber, transformed the West Village’s Blue Hill into an environmentally-conscious pop-up called WastED, challenging guest chefs to craft innovative dishes from ignored, overlooked, and otherwise less-than-coveted food byproducts. And while the possibility was floated that it might eventually become a full-fledged restaurant, it looks like a Brooklyn-based “locavangelist” has actually beaten Barber to the punch.
That would be Przemek Adolf, owner of the Smorgasburg stand, Saucy By Nature, as well as an adjunct catering company, who was spurred into action by the tremendous surplus he’s faced with on a daily basis. “We’ve always strived to practice what we preach while maintaining a desire to make our clients happy,” said Adolf of his ethically sourced condiments and globally inspired street fare. “It’s a tough balance when you want to make sure you’re making plenty of food to feed guests, but end up having all these great leftover ingredients that you have to throw away.”
So instead of trashing perfectly good vine-ripe tomatoes, which Adolf buys in bulk from farmers, or expensive specialty goods left over from custom events, he’s decided to funnel them towards a Clinton Hill restaurant, slated to open by September 1st. Serving both lunch and dinner, the Saucy By Nature storefront will center around daily-changing menus, made with leftovers from Adolf’s other businesses, thereby reducing the company’s food waste to zero.
And as opposed to the participants of WastED, tasked with effectively transforming carrot tops, coffee grounds and fish skeletons, the 20-seat restaurant will certainly have a lot to work with. Saucy By Nature’s catering menu will regularly provide a wealth of choice items, such as grass-fed beef tenderloin, East Coast oysters and artisanal charcuterie and cheeses, as well as the makings for dishes such as grilled corn and tomatillo bruschetta, heritage slab bacon skewers with black mustard cider glaze, fish and chips with whiskey sour pickle tartar sauce, and Moroccan spiced chicken with preserved lemons and dates.
“This is how everybody eats in the rest of the world. This is the normal way to do it,” Adolf said of his “waste not, want not” concept. “So investing in a neighborhood restaurant that uses fresh, leftover ingredients is a great way of putting our money where our mouth is.”