Way ahead of TV’S reality food shows
The Migrating Kitchen was an idea long before television food safaris became the vogue.
‘‘We had the people and their cultures right here in New Zealand. The idea was for refugees and migrants to tell their stories, to help break down barriers and prejudice, with food as the entree,’’ says Anna Cottrell.
The well-known broadcaster and television documentary maker’s idea seemed to fall on deaf ears. ‘‘ No- one appeared interested,’’ she says. ‘‘It was an idea ahead of its time, but with my colleague Jennifer BushDaumec, we turned the idea into a series of exhibitions and media events.’’
What television rejected has been picked up by others who realised the potential and power in what was being offered.
Now the Migrating Kitchen Trust puts on shows and exhibitions in different parts of the country, with one planned for Palmerston North at the newly refurbished Te Manawa Gallery, opening at the end of March.
‘‘We’ve had three very successful exhibitions at Pataka museum and we’re looking forward to the one day event at the Festival of the Elements Waitangi Day celebrations,’’ Ms Cottrell says.
At Te Rauparaha Park, the Migrating Kitchen promises a rich mixture of colour, cultures, sights and sounds, and alluring aromas. All under the canopies of two huge Moroccan tents.
‘‘Communities tell their own stories – stories full of adventure, adversity, romance and hope . . . and food is the medium.’’
The Migrating Kitchen Trust is a non- profit organisation, financed through grants, donations and sponsorship.
‘‘The Trust was set up because we are aware that loneliness and isolation are constant companions as people arrive and settle in a new place,’’ Ms Cottrell says.
‘‘Language difficulties, separation from family, absence of cultural and spiritual networks may lead to depression and conflict. The Trust addresses these issues by inviting communities to take part in Migrating Kitchen exhibitions.’’
‘‘Food and its preparation is a wonderful way for people to meet,’’ Ms Cottrell says.
‘‘ Often for those who have come here as refugees it’s their best chance to be heard. We all have customs around food, and our exhibitions avoid the direct approach, which sometimes can be intimidating.
‘‘ The Migrating Kitchen encourages people to have a voice. And there’s fab food.’’
Exposure: Stories from other cultures are told and tasted in the Migrating Kitchen. Pictured left is the concept’s creator, Anna Cottrell.