We asked several Food Lab members to reflect on the Food Shots. To tell us how they’re working towards a brighter future, and what others can do to enact change.

Merijn Dols,

My MBA in Circular Economy opened my eyes to a world of opportunity. Our current (economic) system never sat well with me. However, the ‘reductionist’ paradigm (however necessary) never really inspired me either. But, here I was, introduced to an alternative scenario, a future of abundance. For me the circular economy represents an alternative economic model that – by design – seeks to be regenerative in all aspects and have a net positive ecosystem impact, social impact, and economic impact.

While the current linear food system has delivered many benefits, it also has issues. Looking ahead to 2050 these issues are expected to acerbate with the projected growing population and middle class. 

When it comes to adopting the circular economy however, in my opinion, food is lagging. Furthermore, most examples of circular economy in food are converting waste-streams into new products. These are great steps forward and desperately needed… however, are they truly circular?

If the circular economy, in contrast to the current linear and mechanistic system, is a complex dynamic system, seeking to be regenerative by design, we will have to go back to the drawing board to design the solutions.

The 5 Food Shots neatly encompass a number of the issues we are working to move the needle on. For example at the sixth MAD Symposium, our biennial Symposium in Copenhagen, our key-note speakers addressed topics from sustainability to leadership to equality in the kitchen. Our MAD Monday’s event series have tackled transparency in the seafood industry, the circular economy, and indigenous food systems. We’re betting on the leaders of the future – and we believe change starts in the kitchen, given the central role of chefs in food systems.

We know technology will play a key role in both the restaurants in the future – and in scaling and sharing our message. It’s no secret that technology has the power to dramatically change our food system. Instagram has already changed the way restaurants plate food and design spaces, and now robots are being integrated into the everyday of our industry to support staff. Merging creativity with new technology in the restaurant industry is an exciting playing field, but there are big unanswered questions.

To jump start this I believe we need to prioritize three things. Firstly, a definition, a framework. Secondly, a design guide build from this framework, so we can leverage the power of all those developing food to start generating the future system and solutions. And finally, iconic examples, beacons of hope that can catalyze the transition and make this complex and philosophical concept much more tangible.

"At MAD we are transforming food systems by giving chefs, and restaurateurs the skills, community, time, and space to create real and sustainable change in their restaurants, in their communities, and across the world. MAD was founded by chef René Redzepi of restaurant noma, which has been named best restaurant in the world by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants four times."

"We can’t find the answers alone. We need your help. Support MAD, whether by attending an event, sharing our content, purchasing a copy of MAD Dispatches, or making a gift. If you see the need for change in food systems, make a bet on chefs as leaders today. With partners from around the globe, and specifically from the Google Food Lab, we are developing pilots to reach our big vision: a leadership academy for the restaurant world. It will house classes and seminars, a research lab, and open learning spaces.    

We have a robust network of chefs around the globe and a pool of exciting, relevant content, as well as deep curatorial abilities. We are looking for partners to join us in developing curriculum; ways to scale our reach through sophisticated online learning models; and financial support to make our vision a reality."

Melina Shannon DiPetro,

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Senior Director of Open Innovation & Circularity, 
Danone North America
Managing Director, MAD

We asked several Food Lab members to reflect on the Food Shots. To tell us how they’re working towards a brighter future, and what others can do to enact change.

Merijn Dols,
Senior Director of
open innovation & circularity, 
Danonewave research & innovation

My MBA in Circular Economy opened my eyes to a world of opportunity. Our current (economic) system never sat well with me. However, the ‘reductionist’ paradigm (however necessary) never really inspired me either. But, here I was, introduced to an alternative scenario, a future of abundance. For me the circular economy represents an alternative economic model that – by design – seeks to be regenerative in all aspects and have a net positive ecosystem impact, social impact, and economic impact.

While the current linear food system has delivered many benefits, it also has issues. Looking ahead to 2050 these issues are expected to acerbate with the projected growing population and middle class. 

When it comes to adopting the circular economy however, in my opinion, food is lagging. Furthermore, most examples of circular economy in food are converting waste-streams into new products. These are great steps forward and desperately needed… however, are they truly circular?

If the circular economy, in contrast to the current linear and mechanistic system, is a complex dynamic system, seeking to be regenerative by design, we will have to go back to the drawing board to design the solutions.

To jump start this I believe we need to prioritize three things. Firstly, a definition, a framework. Secondly, a design guide build from this framework, so we can leverage the power of all those developing food to start generating the future system and solutions. And finally, iconic examples, beacons of hope that can catalyze the transition and make this complex and philosophical concept much more tangible.

Melina Shannon DiPetro,
Managing Director, MAD

"At MAD we are transforming food systems by giving chefs, and restaurateurs the skills, community, time, and space to create real and sustainable change in their restaurants, in their communities, and across the world. MAD was founded by chef René Redzepi of restaurant noma, which has been named best restaurant in the world by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants four times."

The 5 Food Shots neatly encompass a number of the issues we are working to move the needle on. For example at the sixth MAD Symposium, our biennial Symposium in Copenhagen, our key-note speakers addressed topics from sustainability to leadership to equality in the kitchen. Our MAD Monday’s event series have tackled transparency in the seafood industry, the circular economy, and indigenous food systems. We’re betting on the leaders of the future – and we believe change starts in the kitchen, given the central role of chefs in food systems.

We know technology will play a key role in both the restaurants in the future – and in scaling and sharing our message. It’s no secret that technology has the power to dramatically change our food system. Instagram has already changed the way restaurants plate food and design spaces, and now robots are being integrated into the everyday of our industry to support staff. Merging creativity with new technology in the restaurant industry is an exciting playing field, but there are big unanswered questions.

"We can’t find the answers alone. We need your help. Support MAD, whether by attending an event, sharing our content, purchasing a copy of MAD Dispatches, or making a gift. If you see the need for change in food systems, make a bet on chefs as leaders today. With partners from around the globe, and specifically from the Google Food Lab, we are developing pilots to reach our big vision: a leadership academy for the restaurant world. It will house classes and seminars, a research lab, and open learning spaces.    

We have a robust network of chefs around the globe and a pool of exciting, relevant content, as well as deep curatorial abilities. We are looking for partners to join us in developing curriculum; ways to scale our reach through sophisticated online learning models; and financial support to make our vision a reality."

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