Visioneers e.V. hosts a wide variety of workshops and programs. Some of Visioneers' e.V. activities are closely intertwined with food, as food can be a foundation for community. Along with Visioneers’ e.V. goal of highlighting corporate social responsibility (an area where we have many opportunities for individuals or groups), corporate cooking events are a natural fit.
Each Friday, a dynamic group of four, Issam, Omar, and Saad, three wonderful men from Syria (one of whom was a professional cook in Syria) and Mohammad who is from Iraq, prepare an exceptional Syrian feast for the staff of the Berlin-based company, Plista. The weekly lunch on Fridays actually start on Thursdays for the Syrian cooks.
I was given the opportunity to accompany them on their weekly grocery shopping tour through Neukölln. We meet in Hermannplatz and walk down Sonnenallee as Issam stops at shops when he sees the perfect ripeness in an ingredient that he needs before buying it and continuing on to find the next. This continues until he finds all of necessary ingredients at their perfect state. After about an hour and a half, all of the ingredients are bought and they are taken to Plista, the company that they will be cooking for the following day. They choose different ingredients each week, as their menu changes weekly, however eggplant, tahini, yogurt, flatbread, lemons, onions, garlic and parsley (among others) are always on the list.
On Friday the four of them arrive at 8 am at Plista’s office to begin preparing for the day’s lunch. Like a well oiled machine, they begin chopping, peeling, shredding and roasting. Every other week they switch from a full vegetarian menu to a mostly vegetarian menu with one or two meat dishes. By noon, the cooks begin beautifully plating their masterpieces. Omar, a trilingual young man from Syria writes descriptive notes on each dish as Plista employees begin to trickle into the dining area. By 12:30, about 30 employees are seated, looking anxious and hungry as Omar explains the contents of each of the eight dishes. After he is finished explaining the dishes, he thanks everybody for coming and wishes them a Guten Appetit. Joy fills the faces in the employees as they begin to spoon the food onto their plates which have been arranged family style on the tables. The room is filled with fantastic smells, lovely conversation and full stomachs. A few employees tell me how much they look forward to this each week and how consistently delicious the food served always is as well as how full they feel for the remainder of their day. As people finish and trickle out, back to their offices and workspaces, many go over to the cooks to thank the with an equal satisfaction in the cooks faces as in the employees stomachs. The cooks and an employee from Plista clean the kitchen as well as the dining area before heading home for a well earned weekend.
In the next week we will publish more interesting posts on our corporate cooking events including Syrian recipes.
If you or the company you work at is interesting in Visioneers´s e.V., CSR work or you are hungry for a yummy weekly lunch, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org