British Columbia

Recipe: Chef turns food waste into fine dining

Vancouver chief David Gunawan is turning fine dining on its head by making a feast from what society deems as garbage.

Dishes made from 'all the things we deem as garbage' served at Royal Dinette on Oct 20 and Nov 24

The dessert served at the Ugly Duckling dinner is potato skin ice cream with used coffee grounds caramel (Elaine Chau/CBC)

It's not your typical dessert special. This one is made from left over potato skin, some day old bread and cream steeped with old coffee grounds — and it is being served at a fine dining restaurant.

The Royal Dinette in Vancouver is serving up a set menu made from "all the things we deem as garbage," said chef David Gunawan, speaking on CBC's The Early Edition.

It's part of a two-night feast called 'The Ugly Duckling Dinner' and the idea is to utilize as much as we can of the food we buy.

Chef David Gunawan is best known for opening the award-winning restaurant Farmer’s Apprentice. (Fred Fung)

"Food waste is becoming such a big crisis, so we are reaching out to all the restaurants in the city and general public to expose them to idea of using things we deem as garbage," said Gunawan, the chef behind the idea and better known for opening the restaurant Farmer's Apprentice

The concept of fine dining made up from food waste has already been done in New York and Copenhagen. 

But Gunawan hopes the dinner will reach out to cooks at home. 

"If people don't know how to use it, then yeah they throw it away. We are trying to exemplify what they can use in today's restaurant or home setting," he said. 

Here's the recipe we talked about at the beginning of the story:

Potato skin ice cream with used coffee ground caramel 

For the ice cream:


  • 3 baked potatoes, skin only
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup trimoline (inverted sugar, at specialty food stores such as Gourmet Warehouse)
  • 12 large egg yolks
  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add heavy cream and baked potato skins and cook for 20 minutes at 85° C. Remove from heat and reserve for later use.
  2. In another medium saucepan over medium heat, incorporate the milk, cream and sugar and bring heat to 80° C. Simmer for 20 minutes and strain, reserving the liquid for later use.
  3. In the now-free medium saucepan over medium heat, bring milk, cream and sugar to boil.  Add trimoline and egg yolk and bring to 84° C. Add potato skin-infused heavy cream. Remove from heat and cool. Once cool, spin in a pre-frozen ice cream maker.
For the coffee ground caramel:


  • 60 g used coffee grounds
  • 120 ml heavy cream
  • 200 g granulated sugar 
  • 6 tbsp cold salted butter, cut up into 6 pieces 
  • 1 tsp salt


  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add heavy cream and coffee grounds and cook for 20 minutes at 85° C. Remove from heat and reserve for later use.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat granulated sugar with a high heat resistant rubber spatula or wooden spoon. The sugar will form clumps and eventually melt into a thick brown, amber-coloured liquid as you continue to stir. Be careful not to burn. 
  3. Once sugar is completely melted, immediately add the butter. Be careful in this step because the caramel will bubble rapidly when the butter is added.  Stir the butter into the caramel until it is completely melted, about 2-3 minutes. 
  4. Very slowly, drizzle in 1/2 cup of coffee-infused heavy cream while stirring. Since the heavy cream is colder than the caramel, the mixture will rapidly bubble and/or splatter when added. 
  5. Allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute — it will rise in the pan as it boils. 
  6. Remove from heat and stir in the salt. Allow to cool down before using.
  7. In a serving bowl add a scoop of ice cream and drizzle with caramel. Garnish with black olives.

Tickets for the dinner can be bought on their website.

To hear the full interview listen to the audio labelled Ugly Duckling dinner turns food waste into food wonder with the CBC's Rick Cluff on The Early Edition.

With files from Elaine Chau


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