On the 17th June I was invited to take part in the cultural cycle at the University of Valencia: Food, Culture and Development. The course was part of a series of activities organised by the UNESCO chair at the University. I wanted to use this opportunity to talk about Decolonial Food, the philosophy of meeting and sharing culinary traditions that has been the driving force behind my restaurants since I first opened the Seu Xerea and continues to be very much alive today at Ma Khin Café
I can trace my interest in decolonial food back to a question that has pursued me throughout my life: “Where are you from?”. For me, it’s a difficult question to ask with a geographical response, not just because of the complexity of my families past (my parents were born in quite different countries), but also because geography is only a part of my story
And what about the meaning of origin when we discuss the food that we offer in our restaurants? I wanted to question the significance of terms like authenticity, belonging and tradition as applied to food. In a world where for many people, access to food is not guaranteed, what can we learn from our gastronomic histories that can help us to build a more hopeful future in which everyone is invited to sit down at the table?
Decolonial food in the Botanical gardens
The following week we took part in the parallel activities organised as part of the course, with a demonstration of decolonial food in the Botanical Gardens in Valencia. Take a look at the video of the event