This article suggests the importance of opening tourism and hospitality management education to critical perspectives and practices. Critical developments on hospitality have had a limited impact on higher education curricula, which retain a strong vocational orientation. This article presents a student-led pedagogical innovation that enacts hospitality as a critical tool. The activity involved the organization of a pop-up café using freegan principles. Surplus food was transformed into nutritious meals that were distributed on campus on a pay-as-you-feel basis. The innovation drew on Tribe's philosophical practitioner, which vindicates the practical value of adding critical reflection to vocational courses. This article reflects on the pedagogical value of embedding critical hospitalities into vocational curricula. The experience raised relevant questions on the interplay of hospitality and criticality, the ethical values of tourism education and the educational needs of tourism management students more generally.