All posts filed under: The Food Keeper

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Mary Scherpe

Over the past decade, Stil in Berlin has played an integral role in both documenting and influencing the cultural and gastronomical zeitgeists of Germany’s capital city. By extension, its founder, Mary Scherpe, has been an important figure in the public eye when it comes to filtering out the best that the city has to offer in terms of everything from fashion to food. Yet, something remains elusive and enigmatic about the woman behind the blog. Knowing her story and the values that ground her work breathes new life into each post on the widely read platform.  Born in the former GDR, Mary has rural origins. “My mother had a huge garden and she would farm loads of things herself and we had cows and rabbits and chickens. My mother would make all these things like preserves and sauerkraut.” Her family’s approach to food changed substantially, however, after the fall of the Wall. “When the Wall came down and unification happened, this all kind of went away. It was replaced by supermarkets. You know, pre-processed foods. …

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Tainá Guedes

Tainá Guedes promotes harmony within herself, among other living things, and in the natural environment by making mindful choices, which translate into practical action. She believes that food systems provide a key entry point for dealing with the greatest crises of our time, from poverty to climate change. As a cookbook author, gallerist, and mastermind behind Berlin Food Art Week, Tainá combines food with artistic expression in order to communicate important messages about how we can all be living more thoughtfully and sustainably. “The movement that comes from me, from my heart, and moves through my hands to make my work, my book, and write my recipes. It doesn’t matter what it is; it is all connected.”  Growing up in Brazil as the daughter of an artist, Tainá’s youth certainly shaped her sense of social consciousness as well as her approach to making strides in the causes she cares about. Coming of age after her father’s death as a teen during a period of economic turmoil in Brazil, she started working at a very young …

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Marie-Louise Crona

As the owner of Okay Café in Neukölln, Marie-Louise ‘Makki’ Crona creates delicious things to share with others, pastries and home cooked meals that come directly from the heart. Born and raised in Stockholm, where going out to eat is more expensive, “I missed just hanging out at each other’s homes, so this was also a reason why I started cooking more here for other people.” The crowd favorite was always her cinnamon buns, which she baked according to traditional Swedish style, simple, rustic, and seasoned with a hint of cardamom. “I think it started as a cure for homesickness because it’s such a typical thing from Sweden and something we always had at home.”  She received such great feedback from her friends in Berlin that she decided to start selling them at the Neukölln Flohmarkt. “It was an extension of a reason why I cook for friends and family. I got this social thing going on, and this was another level of it: I met strangers and had this really good feedback instantly. It …

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Ruth Bartlett

Ruth Bartlett’s way of relating to food speaks volumes about how she interacts with the world around her. In fact, everything that Ruth does communicates in volumes. As a creative with a bold persona, if she works on a project, you can expect she does it big or not at all, harnessing the dynamism of life and community in each of her projects and endeavors. Using intuition to guide her, Ruth has the uncanny ability to cultivate vibrations and sensations in the spaces she designs and inhabits. Food itself, along with all the social, cultural, sentimental significance that comes along with it, is perhaps one of the meaningful mediums in her repertoire of creative expression. It functions as a source of collaboration and cohesion in myriad interesting ways, with feminist consciousness at the fore. No doubt, this mentality and the importance of building community around food was influenced by her London upbringing, “I guess every culture has it in different way, but in U.K., Sunday roast is such a time for people to come together, …

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Sandra Winkens

As a yoga instructor, Sandra’s disposition –both ethereal and stoic—gives the impression that she harbors a higher wisdom. Upon entering her apartment it quickly became apparent that her approach to eating is consciously connected to every other aspect of her life, with the aim of fostering a sense of alignment between mind, body, and spirit for optimal wellbeing. Through self-discipline in building mindful habits she is able to achieve clarity of consciousness, which guides everything she does and achieves balance in her external world. In fact, it’s difficult to tell where one aspect of her approach to lifestyle ends and the next begins as it is so holistic and all encompassing. The shelves in her flat were filled with books about yoga, Buddhism, and meditation. Beautiful crystals sat poised on tables, and it was impossible to overlook her extensive collection of essential oils, set up front and center among the books. The energy in the space had a distinct quality of lightness and transparency, with each details depicting how yogic philosophy functions as the anchor …

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Lillie O’Brien

Long before she became the founder of London Borough of Jam, a love and respect for quality ingredients has been a running theme in Lillie O’Brien’s life. As a youth born and raised in Australia, she recalls how her mother made everything from scratch back when this wasn’t even trendy. This instilled in Lillie a certain value for authenticity–for doing things right–without taking shortcuts.  In high school, her first job was working in a specialty food and catering shop, though she hadn’t really considered herself someone who would make a living through her affinity towards food. “When I finished high school I actually went on to do textiles.” It didn’t take so long for her realize, however, that following a conventional path wasn’t right for her. “When I went to uni, I was only there for like three months. After you’ve been in school for so long, [I realized] I actually don’t have to be here anymore.” Instead of continuing on with school, Lillie started working full time at the same specialty food shop where …

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Cynthia Kambou

Growing up in an African household, Cynthia Kambou was raised on a mix of traditional plant based dishes in combination with more modern processed foods like Nutella and Maggi soup mix. “I’m one of these people who has a basic journey where when you’re young, you just eat what you parents give you because you don’t know better.”  As a student, she also worked at McDonalds, and admits that she actually liked being able not only to enjoy eating fast food because it was cheap and tasty but also because it was something she could share with friends and family. Cynthia loved to bake sweets for the same reasons. As an active, carefree young woman, “I was really into sports. I wasn’t getting bigger or anything so…  I was eating whatever.” The first turning point in Cynthia’s relationship to food came from an interesting source that doesn’t have all that much to do with what she was putting on her plate. She traces the source of her current food philosophy to her decision to join …

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Leitha Matz

For Leitha Matz, meals don’t just exist at instantaneous intervals. There is a clear current of continuity between one and the next. The story of any given ingredient extends far beyond its existence in her pantry, and this came across in the flavors, textures, and aromas evident in her cooking, an epic story that unfurls on an ongoing basis.  The sustained process of soup… Leitha couldn’t have chosen a better meal to communicate to us her approach to food than the soup she prepared completely from scratch. Most weekends, she engages in a cyclical culinary routine comprised of overlapping phases, where time and patience are as important elements to the dish as any. Throughout the week, she collects vegetable scraps and leftover bones, storing them in the freezer until Sunday rolls around. “Most of the work is passive so it’s perfect for the weekend; the process is like magic to me.” As the homemade stock boiled, you could catch distinct aromas arching clearly from the enveloping scent of home cooking wafting from the hearth—leek, tomato, …