By Evi van der Niet


At the end she adds a tiny bit of cardamom and clove. The smell of roasted coffee beans. The bright colours of her dress, her open face. It’s a ceremony, more than a ritual. We could be in Ethiopia. Guess again.


A lost dishwasher: “Hey mate, I can’t find those bloody tea towels.”


We find ourselves at The Village Festival World Kitchen, our travelling kitchen on wheels, where the wonderful embraces the wild and weird. It’s a playground, and we know a community that plays together, stays together!


“He kai kei aku ringa.” There is food at the end of my hands. Poetic and strong, is our chef Theresa. She cuts sweet potatoes, for laying the Hangi – a traditional New Zealand Maori method of cooking, using heated rocks. It is a collective effort, and those who contribute to making it, get first dibs!


Aunty Jacko shares her mother’s Johnny Cakes recipe. Her most treasured role in the community is that of ‘Aunty’ to everyone. Her cheerful presence and hearty stories make you want to stay for more cuppas and an evolving yarn goes a long way. Seeing is believing and Aunty Jacko delivers. I’m warmed by her contagious laughter.


I always loved the energy of kitchens. My earliest memory is standing on a wobbly stool, licking the pot when my nan made her shortbreads. That memory of cooking, was an act of love and generosity.


Reflecting further, I like that the whole world can be found in a bowl of minestrone soup. It says to me, “I’m glad you are here, sit down, relax.”


Kitchens are places where we can change each other’s truths, make new memories and grow up our minds; where we can partake in deep discussions while hands are busy. A place to slow down from our crazy frantic pace and a place to ponder whether love is a taste, or whether you eat on a beat. A pride of place, and a lion’s share.


This year, The Village World Kitchen features a parody cooking show My Kitchen Sux, a kid friendly feast led by Chef Peter. The alter ego of performance artist Emily Bloom (seen as Penny Candy in recent Village Festivals), Chef Peter joins us from the Paris end of Hobart.


Oliver Vodeb dives into food security, sharing his wisdom with ?lipstick and bread. “We ?throw away some 40% of perfectly good fruit and vegetables at harvest – it is such a critical issue to consider”. His first book Food Democracy includes ground-breaking writing from leading international scholars, artists and activists, along with examples for practical alternatives to the dominant corporate forms of the current food system from around the world.


SARAY Iluminado Femmé will be performing their Stuffed Capsicum cook-along song. Mixing Greek/ Albanian/Bosnian and Serbian melodies and recipes…YUM!


Abshiro is one of sixteen chefs taking us to her homeland, sharing her kitchen secrets. Her recipes are featured in Every Bite Takes You Home, a book ?journeying with sixteen people who sought asylum and now call Australia home.


Each person’s unique story, blended with the memories of their favourite recipes and traditions, reminds us that food can UNITE us all.


As Virginia Woolf said: “one cannot think well, love well, sleep well if one has not dined well.”


We can’t wait to welcome you to The Village World Kitchen this year.


The Village Festival, Edinburgh Gardens

27 – 29 October, 2017

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