Updated: May 3
Promoting a sustainable lifestyle, the curbing of food waste and ways in which one can repurpose food and materials to protect our planet.
Photo Courtesy of Jehangir Mehta
“I practice sustainability through vulnerability.”
Hailing from India, Chef Jehangir Mehta is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. After graduating, he opened three restaurants in New York City, all gone due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mehta, who has always been dedicated to environmental sustainability and social responsibility, moved up a level when he opened Graffiti Earth in 2016. This restaurant, which not only boasts a vegetable forward menu, also integrates recycling practices by using renewable materials when it comes to decor, tableware, and furniture. His cuisine emphasizes sustainability in many ways. It includes using smaller amounts of meat and seafood in ways that maximize flavor as well as cooking ugly produce and other ingredients chosen with the ultimate goal of reducing food waste. Today, Chef Mehta pursues his commitment to sustainability by teaching at various universities and spreading awareness of the importance of environmental protection.
Welcome Chef Jehangir to Chefs for Impact!
By Jehangir Mehta as told to Chefs for Impact
Where does your dedication to sustainable practices come from?
“I was born in Bombay where I had a very comfortable way of life. But from the beginning, it was always about giving back. Having spent all my childhood in a developing country, wastefulness bothers me. So, I decided that in my kitchen I won’t let anything die until it’s really dead.”
What are your best practices for a more sustainable gastronomy?
“Even a small little thing can make a change. At our restaurant, we used old newspapers as placemats to give them a second life before they can be recycled again. We make our napkins from materials in the fashion district that were about to be thrown away. All of our tableware and silverware comes from friends and family.