There’s a new, sustainable furniture and foodie place in town — and Nath finally got to book a fantastic Zen Cuisine cooking class she was chasing for years. A review.
Cooking classes gotta be one of the top favourite pastimes in Berlin. And why not: the foodie scene is strong, and vibrant, and attracts chefs, baristas and creatives from all over the world.
But there is more to this popularity than the interest in fine food and the openness to foreign cultures.
Kitchen Impossible is a brand new sustainable kitchen furniture studio that opened their doors in late 2018. Offering beautiful locally crafted wooden furniture as well as a (growing) selection of sustainable kitchen tools and accessories, the shop and studio combo dwells in Berlin West’s foodie-centric area in Schöneberg. Obviously, offering sustainability-themed cooking classes is a given.
The Kitchen Impossible cooking classes — called The Academy of Sustainable — are booked online through Eventbrite and include classes on regional and seasonal cooking as well as national cuisines. Vegan, vegetarian or omnivore, everyone is sure to find something valuable to learn.
This specific class hosted by Berlin’s own Kaoru Iriyama is one I’ve been chasing for over two years now. Built around different tofu textures and seasonal produce, with all the minimalistic grace of the Buddhist life stance — what’s not to love.
Anytime it was offered by one of Berlin’s established cooking class venues like Goldhahn & Sampson or BioLüske, it sold out instantly.
And no wondering why:
Kaoru — a Tokyo-born Berliner and a trained chef on a mission — is a fantastic teacher and a great source of cultural and culinary knowledge.
(More on her intriguing story of becoming a chef soon!)
The Zen Cuisine class started at 7 pm on a dark and stormy January evening. And I’m not quoting Snoopy for the purpose of a Peanuts easter egg only, the night was quite windy and pitch black, and the contrast between the emptied streets and the warm light on the wooden surfaces in the Kitchen Impossible studio couldn’t have been more stark.
After a brief introduction, Kaoru shared with us her story and talked about the respect and gratitude the Buddhist monks give to everything they eat. No mindless chopping and chewing:
Nature gave us these living plants (and for some of us: animals) to sustain outselves, and this is a great gift that should be appreciated — also by giving it time and attention when preparing and eating. And a truly sustainable, attentive, appreciative cooking means cooking with little to zero waste; something our grandmothers would do with ease, and something that strikes us as innovative and bold and future-oriented today. Isn’t that ironic. But I digress.
The three course dinner based on typical Japanese winter ingredients that we then set out to prepare under Kaoru’s guidance, always with a side of uber-helpful tips and techniques, included a savoury winter vegetables soup made of black salsifies, carrots, parsnips, radish, tofu and konjac; a persimmon and algae salad with a gomashio and silken tofu dressing; and nori-dressed tofu fried in a pan and seasoned with a homemade teriyaki sauce. Attentive readers will see the common denominatior: the entire menu is an exploration of different tofu textures.
The class ended with us enjoying the freshly cooked meal with a fine glass or organic white and discussing all things food.
While you shouldn’t expect to make friends at a cooking class, it’s certainly a way of re-introducing the idea of cooking together to our fast-lived urban jungle lives. Not all city dwellers have a family to come together with on a regular basis, and not all of us are blessed with families we love to have around in the first place. However, there is something very raw and unspoilt in cooking, talking food and enjoying dinner with a group. And, if you have the place and the funds, most cooking teachers are available for private cooking classes as well.
ADDRESS & GETTING THERE:
Kitchen Impossible online (German only)
Postal address, opening hours, and getting there:
Grunewaldstraße 9, 10823 Berlin
Unfortunately, the opening hours can vary, it’s better to check in advance
In the Akazienkiez; U-Bahn Kleistpark.
No affiliates, not sponsored, the class reviewed was paid for in full for two by Beautycalypse.
Just like Beautycalypse, Kitchen Impossible are UnternehmensGrün members, and I heard of them during an event hosted by this green economy organisation. You can check out all UG member companies here.