Foodie events to benefit world hunger are nothing new, but the latest campaign to raise awareness of the issue puts a unique spin on things by introducing gastronomes to the taste of food rations. According to the AP, the U.N.’s World Food Program has enlisted some of the globe’s most famous chefs to create special dishes using corn-soya blend (CSB)—the ultranutritious flour that the humanitarian organization distributes to millions of hungry people internationally. As the project’s creator tells the AP,
We drop it out of airplanes into Sudan, we truck it through minefields in Afghanistan. ... It wouldn’t hurt to have people who spend a lot of money on their meals to think of those who aren’t.
Wow. People say that sort of thing a lot, but to actually taste the same plain fare that food-aid recipients eat would create a whole other level of awareness. However the basic, wholesome gruel is transformed into something completely different in the hands of celeb chefs: Heinz Beck of Rome’s La Pergola did a coconut-water crème brûlée, while NYC cocoa-meister Jacques Torres made a chocolate flan. The incongruity of the raw CSB rations with the finished dish is perhaps simply added fodder for reflection.
Other participating chefs include Marcus Samuelsson of NYC’s Aquavit and international restaurateur Todd English; thus far, none of the chefs have said whether they would make the special dishes a part of their regular menus.