On the 16th and 17th March, food lovers foraging for a new and exciting find are in for a treat when Chefs Across Continents host a pop up at The Pillbox Kitchen in East London showcasing the as yet unchartered cuisines of Nigeria, Cameroon, Armenia, Iran and the Philippines.
The chefs behind Chefs Across Continents are Dare Oni, Carine Ottou, Natalie Nevart Griffith and Roni Bandong, four new friends who met for the first time last December while filming a cooking competition for ‘Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas’, the primetime series on Channel 4. All four are already part of London’s burgeoning supper club scene and on their own have run several events across London. However, rising to Kirstie Allsopp’s challenge to create an alternative Christmas dish under the pressure of time and cameras proved the perfect bonding experience.
What they have in store is not your everyday pop up. By bringing together such a diverse range of tastes and flavours, Chefs Across Continents intends to be a celebration of both cooking skills and cultural diversity, with a menu carefully planned to ensure the dishes, however different, complement each other for taste and flavour. For the adventurous foodie, it is an opportunity not to be missed.
Cameroon-born Carine Ottou, who moved to France as a teenager and runs Matango Supperclub and InspiringChefs said, ‘At Chefs Across Continents, I want people to experience the vibrancy of Cameroonian ingredients and dishes, which I will prepare using classical French techniques. Cameroonian cuisine is so varied, influenced by both our geography and by European settlers such as the Portuguese and French. But it is the flair and artistry of French cooking that I am personally drawn to. During our pop-up, I will be using ingredients like bitterleaf, fermented Cassava, cocoyam or groundnuts to create dishes that pack a punch.’
Dare Oni, who is from Nigeria, said, ‘I’ve been running my monthly supper club, Onidodo, for three years now, where I offer a fine-dining take on West African food. It’s the heart and soul of Nigerian cuisine that I long to capture even if we can’t deny the influence of the West. My ingredients at Chefs Across Continents will include calabash nutmeg, crayfish, langoustine and yam and hopefully guests will find my food both delicious and elegant.’
Natalie Nevart Griffith, who runs Natalie’s Armenian Kitchen and has hosted supper clubs and pop ups around South London said, ‘I admit that my culinary background is quite fascinating. My mother’s family are from the Armenian diaspora in southern Iran, so my food is a blend of both Armenian and Persian cultures and very rich in culinary tradition. For this this pop up I shall be using ingredients such as reyhan or purple basil, saffron, and dried limes and I look forward to putting this relatively unknown cuisine on the map.’
Roni Bandong is from Manila and her supper club, maynila, aims to introduce British foodies to the rich culture of the Philippines through food. She said, ‘I like to serve modern Filipino food with a British twist and have done so at a variety of pop-ups, markets, and food festivals. For a long time, Filipino food has been the great unknowable, but that is probably owing to our mixed cultural background and history. I will be cooking with ube or purple yam, native palm vinegar, and Malagos chocolate tablea and hope my dishes contribute to Filipino food one day melding into the culinary mainstream.’