Chic Spotlight: WASTEd and The City with La Soupe

Chic Spotlight: WASTEd and The City with La Soupe

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Learn about a local event that’s one part educational forum and another part fundraiser aiming to help food insecure families in the Tri-State.

WASTEd and The City with La Soupe will be held Oct. 9.

Cincy Chic: What is WASTEd and The City with La Soupe?
Mimi Dyer, Board President of La Soupe: WASTEd And the City with La Soupe, presented by Kroger and SugarCreek, is one part fundraiser and one part educational forum about food waste—with both aspects of this event benefiting food insecure families and the non profit organizations that serve them. La Soupe has joined forces with 26 Cincinnati area restaurants to create a progressive dining experience, with a focus on using food ingredients that would have otherwise been wasted. Each restaurant will be creating tapas and a cocktail, using rescued food provided by La Soupe.

This Tuesday, October 9th event begins at 6pm at The First Lutheran Church at 1208 Race Street. Attendees follow the map provided and can use the streetcar route to visit participating Downtown and OTR restaurants. Several suburban restaurants are joining us with pop up restaurants at select streetcar stops. GEST electric cars will also be available to help with transportation.

The event ends at Japp’s at 1136 Main Street, where the organizers will announce the winner from a raffle to win a Mercedes Benz weekend package. The lucky winner will have access to a beautiful Benz for a weekend road trip.

Participating restaurants include OTR favorites like A TAVOLA, Anchor, The Mercer, and PLEASE, as well as downtown restaurants including Jean-Robert’s Table, Via Vite, Orchids and Boca. The lineup of restaurants continues to grow daily and now includes suburban restaurants La Petite Pierre, The Farmstand, National Exemplar and The Birch.

Cincy Chic: What’s the inspiration behind it?
Dyer: According to a recent study by the United States Department of Agriculture, each person in our country wastes about a pound of food per day, which culminates into enough wasted food that could potentially feed 2 billion extra people each year. Here in Cincinnati, La Soupe rescues 5,000 pounds of food per week that would otherwise be thrown away and transforms it into nutritious food items. Weekly, 2,000 servings are distributed to food insecure families via area non-profit groups. Since opening its doors in 2014, La Soupe has rescued 602,570 pounds of “ugly,” imperfect or over ordered food from grocery stores, farmers markets and restaurants and has created 343,564 servings of delicious food. La Soupe also partners with chefs at area restaurants, who have produced 5,770 gallons of soups from food that would have otherwise been wasted, and then donates it to La Soupe. 100% of this is distributed to the food insecure community.

WASTEd And The City works to educate our community about food waste and how aesthetically imperfect food can still create a delicious and nutritious meal. The organizers also want to draw attention to the issues faced by food insecure families in our area, and the many non profit organizations, like La Soupe, that work to support them. This event also highlights the creativity and talent of chefs in our community. Attendees of WASTEd And the City should prepare to be amazed!

Cincy Chic: Who’s behind it?
Dyer: Suzy DeYoung, the founder of La Soupe, attended Dine-N-Dash, a Washington D.C.-based fundraiser for World Central Kitchen, a non-profit that encourages collaboration amongst chefs to help communities in need through food. This event inspired her to tap into the creativity and talent of Cincinnati-area chefs to create a similar program as the very first fundraiser for La Soupe.

Cincy Chic: Can you tell us more about La Soupe?
Dyer: La Soupe is the brainchild of Suzy DeYoung, who comes from a long line of chefs. Her legacy includes her father, Pierre Adrian was the head chef at The Maisonette, the city’s first Mobile 5 star rated restaurant. Her maternal grandfather, Albert Schmidt, was the chef of The Union Club in New York City. Theo Kieffer, her other grandfather, was the chef of the Sherry Netherland, also in NYC. Suzy followed in their footsteps, working in several Cincinnati restaurants, as well as abroad at the Michelin 3 star La Gavroche and L’Auberge d’Ill in Alsace. Upon her return to our area, she opened up La Petite Pierre, in homage to her father.

In her 25 years working in restaurants and catering, Suzy became increasingly aware of the amount of food waste. She sold La Petite Pierre to her sister and opened a small soup shack, where she cooked for people in need, rescuing about 100 pounds of produce a week. She soon learned about a dire need for food for students at Oyler School in Lower Price Hill. She immediately headed to Oyler and made sure that every child had a healthy meal to take home that day. She considers this event the true starting point for La Soupe. Cincinnati has one of the highest childhood poverty rates in the country. About 40% of all food produced in the world is either lost or wasted each year. It is Suzy DeYoung’s mission to bridge that gap.

Suzy maintains a “teach a man to fish” philosophy throughout all of her efforts. One of her hallmark programs is the “Cincinnati Gives A Crock” program, a workshop for food insecure families.  She learned that many poor families did not have access to typical kitchen equipment, like an oven, instead depending on a hot plate to make meals. La Soupe gives each attendee a crock pot and instructions on how to use it to create slow cooked meals and soup. Soup is a meal that can be stretched far to feed many and can be easily prepared in a crock pot.

Cincy Chic: What makes WASTEd and The City with La Soupe unique?
Dyer: This event is the first of its kind in Cincinnati, focusing on a collaboration with La Soupe and area chefs to use food that would be otherwise wasted to create a “garbage to gourmet” meal.

Cincy Chic: Is there anything new on the horizon for La Soupe?
Dyer: Yes! La Soupe was just awarded a $104,000 grant through Impact 100, an organization that has awarded more than $4.1 million to nonprofit groups committed to improving their communities since their 2001 inception. La Soupe will use this grant to add 5 pieces of commercial-grade kitchen equipment to their facility, which will allow them to rescue, transform, and share their creations with the food insecure on the very same day!

Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more and follow along?
Dyer: Visit the La Soupe website at lasoupecincinnati.com to learn more and to purchase a ticket.