Kitchen on the Run
Friendships are built at the kitchen table. We are deeply convinced of this idea because we have had experienced it so many times - on trips, during semesters abroad or when arriving in a new city. But what do people do, if they are on the run? If they don’t have a kitchen table anymore where they can eat with friends and new neighbours, share, tell stories and exchange recipes?
That is what we asked ourselves in spring, 2015 when more and more refugees were arriving in Germany. So we initiated the project Kitchen on the Run. Our vision: a mobile kitchen in a container that could offer people on the run a cosy place to meet new neighbours for at least one evening.
Our vision has become reality. Since March 2016, the mobile kitchen has been traveling from Bari in Italy via Marseille in France, Duisburg in Germany, Deventer in the Netherlands to Gothenburg in Sweden. The route symbolizes the path of refugees and their journey through Europe. Every day people cook at Kitchen on the Run. Every day about 25 inhabitants and refugees, people from various backgrounds and different ages get the chance to meet at those events. Every night one of our guests takes on the role of the host and shares a recipe from his or her home cuisine. We have cooked and told stories, we have cried and laughed together, we have sung and danced together. Every night has been diverse just like its guests.
Still all events have one thing in common: each of the more than 2,300 guests from about 70 countries who visited our container felt welcome!
Whether we are in Bari in a public park or in a backyard of one of Europe’s poorest neighbourhoods in Marseille, whether it is raining or the sun is shining, whether only 20 people gather together or about 40: our well-equipped container creates a cosy atmosphere, and is functional and flexible at the same time - it adapts to its guests and their needs every night. People who come to us seem to settle into a space where they can be themselves, meet and come together on an equal footing. Cooking and enjoying the food prepared together serves as an icebreaker and as a communication tool, if a common language is missing. Familiar smells become messengers of emotions, family recipes become “door-openers” to other cultures that suddenly feel less different.
Andreas Reinhard, Jule Schröder und Rabea Haß
Initiators of Kitchen on the Run
The heart of the design is a kitchen that is accessible from all sides when the container is opened, so that several people can cook together. A suspension of round-steel above the kitchen island provides more storage space and facilities for lighting.
At the side door of the container, a “kiosk” can be folded in or out as required. The light steel construction provides two different expansion states. In the semi-open state, the up-folded floor acts as an information counter or bar. If the floor is unfolded, the table attached to the steel frame moves completely into the outdoor area and offers additional access to the container.
Floor-to-ceiling wooden shelving is placed at the back of the container. All dining and cooking dishes as well as working tools are stored in there. Light foldable tables and benches made of wood-based panels form the shelf front and the furniture in one.
The attachment of a skeleton construction to the long side of the container can be opened through folding doors and allows you to at least double the size of the actual usable area. This kind of plug-type construction can be built by two to three people, and is made of prefabricated pillars and girders with attached floor segments and slim steely bracing bands. The roof is made partly of prefabricated truck tarpaulins. They are carried in channel rails between the roof trusses. The essential roof pitch is created by the three-dimensional folding of the tarpaulins.