The Kitchen Without Borders is a collection of recipes from the chefs at Eat Offbeat, a New York-based catering company founded by Lebanon-born siblings Manal Kahi and Wissam Kahi in 2015 that seeks to create quality jobs for refugee and minority immigrants.
The book holds an incredible variety of recipes as well as an explanation of the nuanced differences between, for example, Nepalese and Sri Lankan curries, or kebabs from Afghanistan or Syria. The 70 recipes have been contributed by the company's 14 chefs as well as its founders, and draw on culinary traditions from Iraq to Venezuela and Algeria to Eritrea, as well as Senegal and Guinea.
Each recipe offers an explanation of its origins, along with how or when it is served, and the contributing chef's personal connection with the dish. What really comes through is how food and cooking offers a connection to families and homelands, while also allowing the chefs to share their culture and connect with people in their new home. The book acknowledges how their recipes reflect their journeys and how they have adapted dishes from both their home cultures and others to their tastes. As the chefs themselves have crossed borders and taken inspiration and traditions with them, so the Eat Offbeat kitchen and its recipes crosses borders too.
The book covers all bases, including chapters on appetisers and dips, salads and soups, grains, vegetarian, meat and desserts and drinks. I'll definitely be trying my hand at chef Rachana Rimal's Nepalese vegetable momos stuffed with cabbage and paneer, as well as chef Shanthini Sivakumar's Kanawa squid curry, which draws inspiration from a squid curry popular in Jaffna, Sri Lanka. And I'm intrigued by Larissa Lakouetene's red pepper soup with evaporated milk.
As the founders describe it, The Kitchen Without Borders is not just a celebration of delicious foods from around the world, it allows people who have been displaced to share their cherished cuisines in their own words.
The Kitchen Without Borders: Recipes and Stories from Refugee and Immigrant Chefs (Workman, £18.99)
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