Pop-up restaurants have been popular in Amsterdam over the last couple of years. However, Amsterdam’s newest is nothing like you’ve ever tried before. Having opened its doors on the 21st of June, In Stock restaurant serves dishes produced from food waste. In Stock is one of its kind in both Amsterdam and The Netherlands. As bizarre as cooking with food waste may sound, the team is keen to promote their project and raise awareness about the issue of food waste. Their goal is simple: decreasing food waste. How do they plant to achieve this? That’s even simpler: they invite you to dine at In Stock!
Located at Westergasterrein, In Stock serves three-course dinners on Friday and Saturday evenings and serves brunch on Sundays.In Stock does not have a fixed menu; a different menu is served depending on the food waste supplied to the restaurant on the day.During the week, the restaurant is available to be rented for events.
I visited Freke van Nimwegen, one of In Stock’s founders, to find out more about their project and goals. Freke says “people would never expect the dishes that we serve. You will not only have a fun evening with good wine, but will also support a good cause!”
YB: You promote yourself as ‘the first restaurant that puts food waste on the plate’. How did the idea come about?
FN: We were four colleagues working at Albert Heijn and Ahold. We met each other there. We discussed sustainability issues, particularly food waste. We brainstormed and made a business plan, presented at the Best Idea of Young Ahold, an internal company competition. The board approved our idea. Instead of working at our own jobs, we now run a restaurant. That’s our story!
YB: Were you inspired by a previous project in opening In Stock?
FN: We took part in the Damn Food Waste Initiative on Museumplein last year, where they cooked for 5000 people. We also heard about Rub & Stub restaurant in Copenhagen, which also uses food waste. Similar initiatives exist in the US.
YB: What kind of food waste do you use in your dishes and how do you obtain them? How do you describe the creation of your menus?
FN: The food waste we collect every day comes as a surprise. We collect it from several Albert Heijn stores in Amsterdam. They know us and exactly how to separate what we can and cannot use. We can never use expired food. For us, food waste means food which has not expired, but will still be thrown away. We receive bread, fruit and vegetables from Albert Heijn. We receive our meat and fish from a different supplier.
What has to be done to create a beautiful dish is being really creative. Our chef is more like an artist as she goes through a creative process to design a new menu every day. That’s what makes us so different from a regular restaurant.
YB: What kinds of reactions have you received regarding your project? How would you describe your typical customer profile?
FN: Reactions have been great. People come here because they like the concept, but some of our customers come by without knowledge of the concept; they are surprised when they find out. People are also surprised by the dishes we present.
One of our goals is to surprise people with what you can do with food that would otherwise be thrown away. We also want to make people think about what they do and could do with the food in their fridge.
There is no typical customer profile. We expected to see Amsterdammers between the age of 20 and 45, but we noticed a lot of people come from outside Amsterdam, from Limburg to Leiden. A lot of elderly customers have also shown interest.
YB: Which other projects do you work with and support?
FN: We have a lot of contact with the Youth Food Movement. We are also in contact with Food Cabinet, the Food Bank of Amsterdam and Regenboog.
In Stock will continue running at Westergasterrein till November. Following up on their success, they hope to relocate to a permanent location in Amsterdam which will be announced later on.