August 1, 2021

Chef Thierry Marx’s expertise in the service of ecological cosmetics

In 2017, the Japanese cosmetics giant Shiseido launched a new brand aimed at young people with an awakened ecological conscience: Waso (pronounced “ouasso”). Simple, unigenres products, formulated in part with natural ingredients from the Japanese soil. Four years later, Waso takes its investment up a notch, with cleaner formulas, but also more eco-responsible packaging and raw material sourcing.

It is in this context that the starred chef Thierry Marx intervenes, strongly committed for years in the social and ecology. An activist for education in eating well, he also works for professional integration through cooking (with several free schools and courses in prison) and, mindful of its social and environmental impact, he had it certified ten years ago. years all of its HQE (high environmental quality) companies. “It sounds very simple as a piece of language, but it’s extremely complex to set up”, he said.

Star ingredients, shikulime

Shiseido came to seek the chef for his good practices: “The seal between the two worlds is irrelevant, says Thierry Marx. We discuss how we can model in cosmetics my way of cooking with a positive impact. “

The principle “From the farm to the jar of cream” is privileged and concerns four star ingredients of the range, in particular shikulime, limes sourced in Okinawa. “The Shiseido teams do not just talk about short circuits, they check on the spot the virtuous ecological and social practices of small producers”, insists the starred chef.

The shikulime d'Okinawa.

At the heart of this new Waso version, a technology for recovering water from plants that comes directly, or almost, from the chef’s kitchens. This idea germinated at the French Center for Culinary Innovation (CFIC), which he created in 2013 with the researcher in physics and chemistry Raphaël Haumont. “We are carrying out studies on the diet of the future, with a horizon of 2050-2070, explains Marx. These are work undertaken, without knowing in advance what industrial application they may have. “

First tests with tomatoes

Water is at the heart of this project, water stress promising to be one of the main threats to life on earth: “Every day tons of vegetables, made up of 80% or 90% water, are destroyed. We therefore began to develop technologies for recovering this vegetable water, by cold or centrifugation, and thought about how to reintroduce it in nature or in the kitchen. “ The first tests were carried out with tomatoes about to be thrown away. From these 30 tons of fruit were extracted 25 tons of water.

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Today, the chef applies this process in his restaurants, notably at the Sur Mesure table at the Mandarin Oriental Paris, equipped with the necessary equipment to recover evaporative water when cooking vegetables.

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For Waso products, the water comes from apples used in the manufacture of concentrated juice. “It’s just common sense, stresses Thierry Marx. We must reverse the trends. It takes a little while, but I think everyone has finally figured out that there aren’t two planets. And that it is better to grow in consciousness… ”