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What the Critics Are Saying About Anthony Bourdain’s Food Waste Documentary

The ‘Parts Unknown’ host and his chef pals tackle a very big issue in ‘Wasted’

Wasted, the new feature-length documentary about food waste from Anthony Bourdain and his frequent collaborators at Zero Point Zero Production, rolls into selected theaters today, and it’s now available to stream on Amazon, iTunes, and VOD. Bourdain narrates the film, and several of his chef friends, including Danny Bowien, Dan Barber, Sean Brock, Massimo Bottura, and Mario Batali, make appearances in the doc. Directors Anna Chai and Nari Kye both worked with Tony on Mind of a Chef, as well as a few of his other TV projects.

So what are the critics saying about Bourdain’s latest foray into the realm of feature-length documentaries?

Right now, Wasted is tracking very well on Metacritic with a score of 72 (or “generally favorable reviews”). The critics all seem to agree that Wasted does a good job of outlining the big problems of the issue at hand — that 90 percent of food waste ends up landfills, and 40 percent of all that food is wasted in America. Many of the professional movie-watchers are also pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable this 90 -minute doc is given its subject matter.

The Village Voice’s Serena Donadoni writes that the film has a “tone of breezy advocacy,” while the SF Chronicle’s critic G. Allen Johnson notes that it’s “quite an achievement” that the movie is “so darned entertaining and hopeful, as well as informative.” And LA Times critic Michael Rechtshaffen praises how Chai and Kye “season their thoroughly enlightening eco-primer with a generous sprinkling of levity provided by colorful graphics.”

Several of the critics praise Bourdain’s narration and cameos in the film — and especially his closing credit rants. Movie Nation’s Roger Moore also thinks that Batali gives Bourdain “a run for his foul-mouthed money in the acerbic, poetic and pungent ways of commenting on food and what we should be doing to make sure we always have enough of it to feed everybody.”

For a preview of what’s in store, check out this scene where Blue Hill’s Dan Barber explains the long history of turning table scraps into delectable dishes. And if you catch this film this weekend, please share your thoughts on the film in the comments of this post.

Anthony Bourdain looks at culinary sustainability in documentary 'Wasted! [LAT]
‘Wasted! The Story of Food Waste’ both sobering, uplifting [SF Chron]
Tracking Shots: This Week in Film [VV]
Bourdain, Batali and Others get after us about Wasting Food in “Wasted!” [Movie Nation]
Watch: A Sneak Peek at Anthony Bourdain’s New Food Waste Documentary [E]