Conflict Kitchen pop-up wants Londoners to talk peace

By Lauren Houghton contact

- Last updated on GMT

The restaurant will be run by three different chefs, one from Burma, one from Jordan and one from Peru, who will cook for a week each
The restaurant will be run by three different chefs, one from Burma, one from Jordan and one from Peru, who will cook for a week each

Related tags: Cook, Restaurant

Peacebuilding charity International Alert is to open a three week pop-up restaurant in Hoxton Square this September to mark the International Day of Peace. 

Conflict Kitchen is being launched in partnership with Grub Club and Monikers restaurant in Hoxton Square, which will be housing the pop-up from 11 September. Customers will be served dishes from countries around the world that are affected by conflict, while at the same time being encouraged to strike up conversation on conflict and ideas for peace.

The pop-up will spend each of the three weeks it is running serving a difference cuisine. Week one will see food from Burma, week two from Jordan, and week three from Peru. The restaurant will have 60 covers over communal tables.

Director of emerging programmes at International Alert Phil Champain said: “We came up with the idea because I think food is a way of getting into exploring topics and having conversations. We thought it’d be interesting to explore this idea further in terms of using the informality of a meal as a vehicle for having discussions about difficult issues, the conflicts happening in the world.”

Lesser known cuisines

Customers will be able to sample cuisines they might not know as well at the restaurants, while the chefs will be available to answer questions about the dishes. The restaurant will be run by three different chefs, one from Burma, one from Jordan and one from Peru, who will cook for a week each.

The Burmese food will be cooked by chef Debbie Riehl, who runs Burmese supper club HushHushDining. Batool Rasheed will be the chef for the week of dishes from Jordan, while Marlith Tenazoa Del Aguila, who has worked in a number of London restaurants including Tierra Peru, will be the chef of Peruvian food in the third week.

 “I am delighted to be collaborating with Conflict Kitchen London,” said Riehl. “I am convinced that sharing a meal can be a vehicle for discussing important global issues that affect us all.”

International Alert intends to spark conversation on issues of conflict by putting information on menus and place settings, short facts that customers may not have known about the countries that could get them talking. There will also be images of the conflicted areas in the restaurant.

“The important thing to get the balance right,” explained Champain. “We don’t want to turn into a work shop or a seminar; we want to keep it as informal as possible. However we want to inject bits of information. On the menus there will be information about where the food comes from and on the placemats there will be key facts about another country.

“In addition to that we will invite the chef out to talk briefly to the guests, to say where she’s from and her experience of the conflict there and so on. We’ll also have photographs and pictures about the conflict so there will be enough visual and written stimuli for discussion.”

Rooftop grill

As well as the restaurant in Monikers, International Alert is also planning to take Conflict Kitchen to a rooftop grill at the Queen of Hoxton on 20 and 21 September. Here it will serve Middle Eastern food and cocktails with the intent to influence customers to discuss the conflicts in that region.

The menu will consist of recipes donated by well-known chefs Yotam Ottolenghi, Anissa Helou and Claudia Roden, and food will be served in a buffet form.

Conflict Kitchen London will run from 11 – 27 September and is part of the Talking Peace Festival. Find out more at the Talking Peace website. 

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