Eating for the greater good
One of JAMI’s posters on Head Room’s walls
You can feed your soul by giving to charity. Now you can also feed your stomach
TWO CHARITIES have made the link between our love of food and their causes — and the results are delicious. At JW3, the team behind in-house kosher restaurant Zest have collaborated with World Jewish Relief (WJR) to produce a pop-up café in their piazza. From March 6 until April 9, the dome will house a separate meat restaurant which will serve dishes inspired by Syrian-Jewish cooking. One pound from each meal with be donated to the charity’s work supporting refugees who have fled war-torn Syria.
“I noticed charities doing partnerships with restaurants, so I approached Zest” explains Rafi Cooper, director of communications at WJR.
Zest manager Joshua Owens-Baigler liked the idea of a partnership. “I wanted to be a bit more creative about it than a table donation. I’d been speaking to a man who supplies pop-up domes and this was a chance to use one in Zest’s open courtyard to house a separate restaurant area.”
The restaurant’s kashrut authority, SKA, agreed to allow the provision of meat meals cooked on an outdoor grill and served in the dome while the milky restaurant and café operated inside the building.
Owens-Baigler feels Syrian cuisine will be a good fit with Zest’s current menu. WJR is already supporting the Syrian cause.
The initiative #cookforsyria was launched last October, and is supported by a list of chefs that reads like a Who’s Who of British cuisine. A cookbook, supper clubs and specially designed dishes with a Syrian influence have all helped raise money towards the Unicef’s Syria Relief fund. Sampling a Syrian-influenced menu at Stoke Newington’s The Good Egg had also inspired Cooper.
Owens-Baigler and Zest head chef Daniele Lavia consulted the recipes of Poopa Dweck, expert on Aleppo Jewish food and created a menu which includes lamb kefte (Syrian kofte) with cabbage salad, Syrian salsa and hummus; saffron and orange marinaded chicken, Aleppo peppers and harissa aioli on a laffah wrap; aubergine dumplings with zhoug and shredded cabbage on a pitta. “I’d turn vegetarian for the aubergine dumplings,” says Owens-Baigler.
Funky food at Head Room