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”. Dont waste anything that still has value.

Dont 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.



Don´t waste it, cook it!

Japan 2020, 95 min.

Director/Script/Presenter: David Groß
Camera: Daniel Samer
Co-Host: Nikki Tsukamoto 
Producer: Kenji Sekine/United People

In summer 2019, the filming of Mottainai Kitchen took place in Japan.

The documentary premiered in Tokyo in August 2020 and has since been shown in over 80 cinemas across Japan. Mottainai Kitchen is also screening at international film festivals, most recently in the US and South Korea.