Beppu is booming more than ever with openings of new restaurants and cafes, and Trash Kitchen has now entered the market with a sustainable and socially aware twist. I sat down with Akito, one of the founding members of Trash Kitchen and a recent graduate from APU, to learn more about how they got started.
“The whole concept began while a co-founder and I were having tapioca drinks a few months back. There is this whole trend of taking pictures of these drinks, so lots of people just take pictures and then trash them,” said Akito. After witnessing this frivolous waste of food, they were inspired to open Trash Kitchen.
“Our main concept is to save food from the trash, and limit the amount of food being wasted. Eventually we want to be able to deliver excess or leftover foods to people who need it,” Akito elaborated.
Right now, Trash Kitchen is open for a four-month-long trial run. Their goal during these four months is to make enough profit to be able to hire on more people in the future. Akito believes that making a profit is the most challenging part of starting a social business.
On October 19th, customers were encouraged to bring their surplus ingredients from home for the chef at Trash Kitchen to incorporate in their cooking. “For today’s potluck event,” Akito explained, “guests brought their own ingredients, but usually we get our ingredients from local grocers.” Trash Kitchen incorporates ingredients like fruits and vegetables which do not sell well because they are slightly damaged into their dishes.
Personalization is also one of Trash Kitchen’s highlights, and they cook according to each customer’s preferences. This way they are able to cater to food allergies and restrictions, and ultimately make sure no food is wasted. One of their staple recipes is a customizable pasta. For this dish, the pasta is bought from a seller that also follows a no-food-waste philosophy when manufacturing their product.
Trash Kitchen is located at the first floor of Hotel Tsuruta near Beppu Kitahama. Their hours are 18:00-21:30 daily with the exception of Mondays and Thursdays. Trash Kitchen will be open for business until the end of January.
Do go and check them out!