Acclaimed chef and culinary personality, founder of Food Lab Studio and an educational project called “Szkoła na Widelcu”.
On 8-10th September for the first time he co-organizes Warsaw Culinary Festival in the University of Warsaw Botanic Garden. Workshops, lectures, walks through the garden, activities for kids, food and design market.
Food and plants – your two true passions. Which one is bigger?
– Thank God I don’t have to choose. Besides they are both interrelated. Everyone has their own passions but there is no need to go into extremes and limit only to them. It’s worth seeing life as it truly is – full and diverse. My adventure with plants started from cooking.
From edible plants or the Gastro Garden project where you cultivated and grew plants?
– Far earlier. When my mom picked a tomato for the first time or plucked a raspberry from the bush. My grandparents used to go mushroom hunting and passionately cultivated garden. As a kid I saw it was something special. We used to go to the mountains. I will never forget the view near Szklarska Poręba. Greenery so lush and luxuriant, landscape, rocks covered with moss and these streams!
You can forget about all these things when you live in a big city. Here concrete is dominant.
– My ideal city is a combination of architecture and greenery. I’d love to live in a city with bike lanes, parks, well designed public spaces. Where people rule, not cars. I can see these changes happening in Warsaw right now. All in all, plant is a link with our planet, not concrete. We weren’t born out of concrete. We have to take care of quality of life. Everyone of us deserves to live worthily, eat decently.
Especially that we have a choice.
– Apparently yes, but we still have social segregation when it comes to food.
Someone poorer will not buy vegetables on the market at Hala Mirowska?
– It is not only about money but access to education. Today school, which should take at least partial responsibility for bringing up next generations, when it comes to food, doesn’t feel responsible. It is up to parents. And parents are mostly in a constant hurry and eat trash food themselves. Children don’t have good examples to follow.
Researches conducted in the United States or Great Britain reveal that we pay high price for this situation. Garden can teach us a lot about good food. It can also save us from exhaustion and burnout.
You yourself are on the run because at your own allotment in Mokotów instead of digging in soil you have so far organized an office.
– But you have to agree that it is a step in the right direction. My flat is filled with plants. I was on a 3-week holiday. My allotment is a few steps away from Food Lab Studio. I take care more and more about my work-life balance.
I am convinced that we should stop, come back to the roots, become farmers, and be closer to land. We are devastating our natural environment which is our host. This is the reason we are organizing this festival. We are making it in this particular place – the University of Warsaw Botanic Garden with many scientists who know which direction our planet goes. It is a good option for building dialogue, exchanging views and opinions between: chefs and scientists, designers and food manufacturers.
That is why I am not making this festival on my own but with the Botanic Garden and the Design Fairs „Wzory”. We will combine these categories. Kitchen and garden seem to be perfect places for this purpose.
I am sure that only cuisine and garden can save our country.
– And they lived happily ever after.
Until they started to talk about politics.
– We will learn how to do it later. For the time being, let’s focus on work, not talk.
Photo: Filip Klimaszewski