Food Truck Serves Retired Racehorse Meat to Curb Excessive Food Waste
The Unwanted Animal Kitchen is cooking up unusual meats to make Holland's food industry more sustainable
The Unwanted Animal Kitchen, founded in 2011 as part of a West Amsterdam urban art project, is a food truck that serves foods made from a variety of non-traditional meats- including goose, meerkat, deer, crow, and even horse.
The idea for the kitchen initially centered around geese. Since 2005, Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport has been fighting to protect its aircraft from the large birds, which is why thousands of them are killed by licensed hunters each year. The entrepreneurs behind the kitchen decided that instead of watching the animals go to waste, they would establish relationships with the hunters and source the geese for their menus. From this meat, the kitchen has been able to re-create the traditional Dutch croquette and even make tasty soups and other fried delicacies.
Perhaps what has garnered more attention for the small food truck is the “My Little Pony Burger,’ which is made from retired racehorse and pony meat. Founder Rob Hagenouw explains how the economic crisis pushed along the development of the burger:
It became quite expensive to have a horse in Holland. People didn’t want their horses anymore and the prices for them went down. It’s not common in Holland to eat horse, so a lot of them went to Spain, Italy, and Poland… to become ‘real’ foreign sausages. People were throwing away their horses without wanting to know what would happen to them. So we wanted to do something about this.
Getting people to buy horse burgers is a difficult thing to do, especially in Holland where eating horse is not the norm. Rather than relying on taste and aesthetics to market the food, Hagenouw uses storytelling to gain loyal customers. Special dinner parties are held which bring together hunters, chefs, and eaters together at a multi-house dinner where they can share their stories and learn about the journey of the locally sourced food.
The Unwanted Animal Kitchen is making more than just a statement. It’s now a brand and its products are gaining popularity- the goose croquettes and smoked breasts are now being sold in bars and supermarkets around Amsterdam.
While the brand is getting more popular, the truck is not in business to create a new billion dollar industry of goose and horse meat, and Hagenouw goes as far as to state, “You can eat enough, without eating meat.” Perhaps this is hinting at something for the near future (unwanted plants on the menu?).
Food innovation is a key selling point behind the kitchen’s menu items. But more importantly, the chefs at the pest food truck are challenging Western palates and striving to change the norms that accompany every meal we eat.
Images credit: Rob Hagenouw