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Restaurant by volunteers turns food waste into gourmet meals

The nonprofit restaurant Rub & Stub is both attractive to student volunteers and to student patrons. And to businesses willing to donate rather than toss out their extra food

While the trend of sustainability has led to a focus on activities such as dumpster diving and communal kitchens, Rub & Stub in Copenhagen is trying to reduce food waste on a more gourmet level.

Rub & Stub is a volunteer-based restaurant that runs primarily off surplus goods from the food industry. When they first started one year ago, the restaurant had approximately 30 volunteers and was receiving primarily fruits and vegetables in donations. Now, the restaurant has approximately 100 volunteers (about 30 per cent of which are exchange students) and is receiving food from three farms, Emmery’s bakery, supermarkets and other organizations willing to contribute.

”People come into the restaurant and see a fully running business, but we’re really only a quarter or a third of the way finished. The kitchen is only open for a few hours a day, so we’ve been thinking about using the rest of the day for a catering service,” says co-founder Rasmus Scheelke to the University Post about the growth of the new restaurant.

Lobster bisque and beef goulash

Since the food inventory relies completely on donations from food distributors, this means that the menu changes constantly, forcing the cooks to be creative with the ingredients they receive.

As an example, last Wednesday when the University Post was there, you could order lobster bisque made from six kilograms of lobster donated by a local fisher, or organic beef goulash cooked in surplus wine. There is always at least one vegetarian option on the menu for the less carnivorous diners.

Currently the restaurant is a part of the RETRO Association, a non-profit organization based out of Copenhagen that sends all its proceeds to development projects in Africa. As of 1 January, Rub & Stub will be an independent entity and is trying to figure out where to take the business next.

Head over early or reserve

Last spring Rub & Stub had Friday night supper clubs and they are hoping to continue these again this upcoming spring.

The Supper Club includes food as usual, but also beer at cheap student-friendly prices (approximately DKK 30) and live music. They were able to find various jazz musicians play at the house, and according to co-founder Scheelke these evenings were very popular among students.

The downside of the popularity of Rub & Stub of course is that you have to reserve a space, or head over early before all the tables are full and the best food is sold out.

See our University Post Guide to Stop Throwing Food Away, and check out additional information about Rub & Stub in the fact box above.

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