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RESTAURANT OF THE HEART

Practicing intuitive cooking, nourishing the body and the mind.

  • May 12 2021
  • Community Kitchen
    was born from the intention to feed those in need. We gathered in December 2020 to cook a nutritious meal for the vendors of Arts of the Working Class, taking into consideration the lack of access to nutritious food among people living on the streets. The collective consists of three friends, Ayumi Saito, Gal Sherizly, and Melanie Wehrli, who all share a passion and philosophy of cooking.


Eating is a means of survival that gives power to our bodies. It allows us to cultivate gratitude for the Earth, which gives us an abundance of organic matter with which to collaborate. We gather around food to discuss an infinitude of topics, sharing both laughter and tears. For some, the act of eating is rooted in everyday pleasure, while for others obtaining food is a challenge. The realities of food inaccessibility marginalizes populations, perpetuating a wealth gap. How, in a world where millions of tons of food are being sorted out, buried or wasted each day, can we still have hunger and famine? 

Restaurant of the Heart is inspired by the French Resto du Coeur, a charity project founded by the famous French comedian Coluche. Known for his irreverent attitude towards politics, his goal was to distribute 3,000 servings of soup a day to the demunies, the impoverished, as part of the project which attracted several artists to join in support. Feeling connected to the name du coeur, meaning “from the heart,” our philosophy of cooking comes from that warm place too. Our cooking is done with both intention and attention – we cook simple food to nourish the body and the mind. 

A friend told us about a person living on the streets who would always ask to buy him a specific tin of fish to eat. Favorites are important and special: This story inspired our project as a way to make a dream come true with food, and as a homage to this person who seemed to long for the ocean and its nourishment just as much as us. 

For the following recipes, we chose three ingredients that we hoped would be easy to access and assemble. The ingredients can be found, bought, or saved from being wasted. Left overs in our society are often perceived negatively. They are ingredients that capitalist society deems inconsumable, ingredients without economic value, and so using them becomes a political act. What we normally call “waste” is the result of mass overproduction. How can we unlearn wasting and re-learn gleaning towards an open-ended creation? 

In her essayistic documentary The Gleaners and I (2000), filmmaker, screenwriter and artist Agnès Varda follows gleaners across France. Originally, gleaning signified the act of collecting the remnant crops from a field after harvest. It can also manifest as the collection of a variety of found objects to cobbling and recycling them into a new interpretation. Gleaners are the ones in need, but also the ones who save – it is a conscious decision to use what is at hand. Gleaning illustrates how trash can become treasure, giving value to the excess and its ephemerality. Varda’s film represents her approach, as a gleaner of visual footage, assembling disparate elements to render new forms. Using what is available forces one to renounce premeditated intentions and work intuitively. As the three of us practice intuitive cooking, we created three recipes that are easy and fun to cook, whether under a roof or an open sky.

We want you, whoever you are, to take the time for yourself

To collect and cook your food in the company of someone else. Do it together. 

Nourish your body, feel it, and believe that you deserve a healthy and joyful meal. 




Cooking on the Streets

These recipes are an open invitation to cook, for anyone, anywhere. We love the idea of developing intuitive senses while cooking outside, gleaning the necessary tools and complimentary herbs, and adapting to our surroundings. Cooking tools were found occasionally on the streets, while water was sourced from a local café. While searching for a cooking spot, we foraged wild herbs from the local parks – we are lucky to be preparing these dishes at the beginning of spring. Foraged herbs are not only tasty but also rich with vitamins, anti-oxidants, pain relievers and detoxifying agents for restarting and cleansing the body for the coming spring and summer. We were amazed with the results of using just a few ingredients and tools. Cooking on an open fire felt very empowering and it also proved, once again, the joy and deliciousness of intuitive simple food.

Remember, these recipes are suggestions – you can use any type of cabbage you wish, as well sauerkraut. If you find a sprouted potato, you can plant it 10 cm deep in the soil and let it grow for about 100 days. Dig in, harvest, cook and enjoy! Substitute any ingredient with another when something else is more in reach. Gleaning helps you be creative and re-interpret our suggestions.

 

 

Finger Torn Salad 

1 medium sized potato

5 leaves of cabbage 

1 tin of mackerel in olive oil 

Seasonal wild herbs (We used dead nettle, dandelion, chervil and chives) 

  • In between four bricks start a small fire in a safe place. 
  • Bake the potato in the coals for about 20 min until the skin is charred. Let it cool down. 
  • Tear the cabbage leaves to a favourable size, then pour the mackerel oil over them. Add salt and mix thoroughly. 
  • Peel and cut the potatoes and lay them on the seasoned cabbage.
  • Top it off with the foraged herbs and mackerel. 
  • Add a squeeze of a lemon and a sprinkle of salt
  • Eat with pleasure 

 

 

C-Cup 

1 medium sized potato 

2 leaves or more of cabbage

1 tin of mackerel in chili oil 

Seasonal wild herbs (We used wild garlic, dead nettle and chives) 

  • Start a small cooking fire in between four bricks.
  • Bring salted water to a boil and cook the potato until soft.
  • Mash the potatoes with salt.
  • Place one cabbage leaf in your hand and fill it with mashed potato, mackerel fillet and the fresh herbs found on the street 
  • Enjoy!



Neukölln Bouillabaisse 

1 medium sized potato 

300ml water 

4 leaves or more of cabbage

1 tin of mackerel in tomato sauce 

Seasonal wild herbs (we used chives) 

  • Start a small cooking fire in between four bricks 
  • Peel the potato and cut it into quarters 
  • Boil water and cook the potato for about 10 min. 
  • Meanwhile chop and salt the cabbage leaves
  • Add the salted cabbage and the mackerel, with sauce, into the pot 
  • Cook for another 10 min, until the potato is soft 
  • Add a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of salt
  • Pour into a bowl or leave in the pot, top with herbs and enjoy!


//

 

Read this piece in print in the issue 16 "Food Eats the Soul", out now!



  • IMAGES
    Charred Potatoes, Image courtesy of Community Kitchen, 2021

    Street Kitchen Set Up Image courtesy of Community Kitchen 2021

    Finger Torn Salad, Image courtesy of Community Kitchen, 2021.jpeg

    Stuffed C-Cups, Image courtesy of Community Kitchen, 2021

    Neukölln Bouillabaisse, Image courtesy of Community Kitchen, 2021

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