Tag Archives: community kitchen

Kitchens without borders

26 Dec

You will probably know MSF – Medecines Sans Frontieres (doctors without borders) and perhaps you have come across RSF – Reporters Sans Frontieres (reporters without borders). So you might be intrigued – as I was – to discover CSF – Cuisine Sans Frontieres (kitchen without borders).


I first read about this Swiss organisation in the spring edition #20 of the young food-cooking-cooks magazine Effilee. In it the founder of CSF was portrayed: David Höner, cook and film-catering entrepreneur, and the birth of CSF in 2005 was described. Höner and his wife were in Colombia in a civil war situation for some press coverage work. There he observed people fighting for survival, too depressed and scared of one another to leave their houses. So he decided to create places that people could visit, along the lines of a neighbourhood pub, small restaurants with protection for the host. David says it’s not about providing food, it’s about hospitality and conviviality, so really, it’s about community.


CSF projects described on the website are in BrazilColombia, Ecuador and Kenya, such as the bakery in the woman’s prison in Quito, Ecuador, and there are some youtube videos about these here. But the best impressions can be garnered on the blog here.


Golden Temple, Golden Kitchen

24 Dec

The 60-minute documentary Himself He Cooks (2011) that we portrayed here has a 5-minute precursor called Golden Kitchen (2005), by the same Belgian filmmaker duo Valerie Berteau and Philippe Witjes on their first visit to the Golden Temple. I think you can watch it on youtube here. There are a couple of web entries with more information and photographic impressions of the langar such as here and here and here. I love the sheer scale of big kitchens, such as the plates for the meals in the photo below.


Interestingly enough, there’s also a book called The Golden Kitchen (2010) available on blurb. It’s by Rome-born photographer Valerio Berdini (don’t get confused with Belgian filmmaker Valerie Berteau now). You can preview the entire book here.


Again, sheer scale of pots and therewith the means of cleaning them in the next photo. Valerio has a few galleries on his website; the Golden Kitchen one is here.


50.000 free meals daily

23 Dec

are prepared, cooked, served and cleaned up by people engaging in voluntary service (seva) at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab, Northern India. Belgian filmmaker duo Valerie Berteau and Philippe Witjes present this phenomenon as a dance of food, worship and community in their 2011-documentary Himself He Cooks.


The hour-long film is eloquent without dialogue and is gathering the accolades on its kitchen shelf, such as the Toyota Earth Grand Prix award at the 25th Tokyo International Film Festival this October.

The Golden Temple of Amritsar (Harmandir or Darbar Sahib) is the holiest place of worship (gurdwara) for Sikhs in all the world, according to SikhiWiki. Besides the practice of seva (service to one’s fellow beings), there is also the langar, or free vegetarian community kitchen, with the food purposefully held simple (yay, simple), associated with all Sikh gurdwaras.


The name of the film comes from the Sikh holy book, Guru Granth Sahib. Dr. Gopal Singh, i.a., translated this into English and first published the rendition in 1960. You can access some of it in google books here; the eponymous quotation can be found on page 538 and seen in the photo below.


You can watch trailers on youtube here or on vimeo here. It’s certainly going to make my list of must-have-foodie-films.