Eat­ing for the greater good

The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE - BY VIC­TO­RIA PREVER

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

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