Mottainai Kitchen is a culinary road movie, tackling the issue of food waste and other environmental issues in Japan, searching for sustainable solutions. The film follows filmmaker and food activist David Gross as he discovers the fascinating Japanese concept of “Mottainai“, meets local chefs, scientists and farmers while creating tasty recipes for a “Zero Waste Kitchen Revolution”.
Don’t waste anything that still has value. This is the “Mottainai” concept. It can also refer to creative solutions. This ancient philosophy has been experiencing a revival in its country of origin, and it may offer some useful advice for the rest of the world too. Despite its fame as a gourmet haven, Japan has one of the highest numbers of food waste globally. How is that possible and what can we do about it? Where other people see only problems, Mottainai Kitchen goes out to find solutions.
Gross travels across Japan for 4 weeks and only cooks with ingredients that others call waste. On his journey he meets chefs, farmers, activists and scientists and is supported by Nikki, his translator and colleague. The two drive a mobile kitchen created by young designers using recycled materials. Mottainai Kitchen is a film that combines purpose and fun,whetting your appetite for a sustainable future.
I have been traveling the world as a filmmaker and cooking activist for 8 years. At first, I only saw problems. A third of all food produced worldwide ends up in the garbage. That’s a shocking fact. But today, I mainly see solutions. The problem may seem very big, but the creativity of people fighting waste is even bigger. Japan is particularly interesting. On the one hand, food waste is huge, on the other hand, the unique “Mottainai” concept presents a great solution that has the potential to inspire people all around the globe. Rethinking starts with your own attitude and in your own kitchen!
Born 1978 in Salzburg. He has been working as a freelance television journalist, filmmaker and food activist. In 2012, he launched the crossmedia project Wastecooking. Initially created as a web series and “artivism” (art and activism) project, Wastecooking later became a television series and a documentary film in feature length. The film shown at numerous festivals won several awards.
The documentary film “Wastecooking” (2015) was also released in Japan. His latest documentary film “Mottainai Kitchen” which was shot in Japan is going to be released in 2020. He is a father of a daughter. He married to a Japanese in 2018. David Gross lives in Austria and Japan.
It is said that more than 800 million people are suffering from hunger in the world.As of 2019, the world’s population is 7.7 billion, which means that about one in ten people do not have enough to eat. But one third of the food produced in the world is thrown away. In order to solve this situation, “Wastecooking” was produced in Europe. When I invited the director, David Gross, to Japan in 2017 for the promotion of the film, we learned that Japan is also discarding over 6 million tons of food which is still edible, even though we’ve been appriciating “Mottainai spirit”. In order to do something about this situation, we decided to make the film “Mottainai Kitchen”. We hope that this film will not only solve the food loss problem, but also help to build a sustainable future.
Born in 1976. Graduated from Beloit College with a degree in Economics. On his graduation trip, he traveled halfway around the world. During the trip, he visited a war zone by chance. The visit motivated him to make actions to achive peace.
In 2002, he founded United People, a company established in order to solve global issues. He is the producer of the film Mottainai Kitchen. He is the author of the book “United People.
Born 1978 in Salzburg. Graduated in 1997 from the tourism school Kleßheim with a cooking education. In 1998 he began studying drama and journalism at Universtiy Vienna. He completed the postgraduate master’s program in quality journalism at Danube University Krems in 2003.
Since then, he has worked as a freelance television journalist, filmmaker and food activist. His first experimental documentary film “The deputy” was premiered at the Graz Film Festival Diagonale 03. Between 2006 and 2011 he was on SalzburgTV (later ServusTV) in 260 episodes of the documentary series “Groß am Land”. The documentary “Pharao Bipolar”, Co-director Bernhard Braunstein, won the 2008 Diagonally Prize of the Diocese of Graz-Seckau.
After he had gained experience as a dumpster diver, Gross 2012 launched the crossmedia project Wastecooking. Initially created as a web series and “artivism” (art and activism) project, Wastecooking later became a television series and a documentary film in feature length. Gross uses his skills as a cook and serves creative dishes from leftovers on his journey through various European countries. The TV series was first aired in 2015 by cultural channel Arte and ran meanwhile on 3sat and ORF one. The film shown at numerous festivals won several awards.
The documentary film “Wastecooking” (2015) was also released in Japan. In another project, in September 2015, he launched Refugee.tv, Europe’s first Internet tv-station created by refugees. His latest documentary film “Mottainai Kitchen” which was shot in Japan is going to be released in 2020. He is a father of a daughter. He married to a Japanese in 2018. David Gross lives in Austria and Japan.