Steve Anderson’s personal cuisine endorsed by Ma Khin Café’s ninth anniversary.
Coinciding with the ninth anniversary of Ma Khin Café, the ‘Decolonial Food’ event evinced the existence of a growing community increasingly convinced of the potential of food as a way of bringing people and cultures together.
Steve Anderson showcased his ‘Decolonial Food’ philosophy and explained the evolution of his cuisine over the course of his 26 years in the hospitality sector. In addition, the presentation included two wonderful videos of his last trip to Burma just before the pandemic, when he had a chance to share the experience of cooking and eating with groups of Burmese women. Steve used this trip as an example to explain the creative process behind the evolution of Ma KhinCafé’s changing menu.
Decolonial Food”, a kitchen of encounters
As Steve explained, “the concept of ‘Decolonial Food’ is all about encounters. Our trip to Burma was not about discovering new ingredients and recipes. What was really important and truly rewarding was meeting people who shared their culture, their food and their stories with us. And this is precisely what drives Ma Khin Café forward, what motivates us to create new dishes that our customers will enjoy.”
As the chef elaborated, “for instance, we came across the unmistakable aroma of ‘ngapi’ in many street stalls selling food. This fermented fish paste which is used a lot in Burmese cooking is not so far removed from “garum“, a condiment that was hugely popular with ancient Romans and which was also made from fermented fish. And just as Ma Khin Café is rediscovering ngapi in our dishes, many other Mediterranean restaurants are doing the same with garum. In the end, we are the result of an ongoing evolution in food and cooking.”
Southeast Asian recipes made with products from the Mediterranean pantry
With the restaurant filled to overflowing and backed by his whole team, the chef gave a live demonstration of how his cooking fuses recipes from southeast Asia with local fresh produce from the Mediterranean. “We live in an ever more interconnected world and this is something that is also materialized around the table. We can never renounce the possibility of meeting and getting to know other people, to listen to their stories, to share, to empathize and to learn together. Because” as Anderson reminded us in the conclusion of his presentation, “it is through meetings and encounters that food and, more importantly, society as a whole can evolve towards a better future.”
“Decolonial Food” Community: A night of smiles and encounters
After the presentation the people in attendance mingled and got to know one another, accompanied by refreshments, wine and snacks. This was then followed by a sit-down
Burmese style supper with the dining table full of a succession of appetizing dishes, each one more aromatic and intriguing than the last, all shared by the diners amid lively conversation and laughter until midnight.
“Personally speaking, the presentation of ‘Decolonial Food’ was a very important event for me,” Steve confessed, “after 26 years in the restaurant business in Valencia, it was an opportunity to share with friends and customers the meaning of this journey.” As they were leaving, everyone took away with them a beautifully printed illustrated booklet as a memento of an event that Steve described as “a night of smiles and encounters that gives me the energy to keep driving forward our “Decolonial Food”.
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