Options Bi-Weekly Workshops

One of our new year’s resolutions was to meet more regularly with each other, and with new people that want to meet the FoodLab, so we decided to create an institution in Athens of Bi-Weekly workshops which are graciously hosted by Kassandras, which has subsequently made us one of their official residents!

Ibrahim leading the Koshari workshop in December, 2016

Ibrahim leading the Koshari workshop in December, 2016

Of course this is not a new activity for us, we have been doing workshops since our early days, it’s one of our core focuses. In addition to catering, PopUps, and private dinners, we feel that events that are open to everyone are essential to ensuring our growth and the growth of our community. One of the most memorable of these workshops was the Falafel Workshop last winter.

The workshops have other aims as well, not only is it a chance for our team to meet and talk about our work and projects, but it’s a chance for new people to get involved with the organisation, and most importantly, to see how they cook, and of course, to learn (new tricks) from each other.

Pasta Making workshop, May 2016

Jeff leading the Pasta Making workshop, May 2016

The sharing goes in many different directions, not only do we learn “exotic” dishes like Koshari from the newly arrived people in Athens, but also we are learning local Greek traditions (like cutting the Vassilopita), and even Italian dishes like making orecchiette by hand. If you have an idea for a workshop, please get in touch! The point is to do it together, many hands make short work of the job!

For example, making handmade orecchiette by yourself for a large group of people would take an entire day! Even the expert Nonnas in Southern Italy take two hours per kilo. But in a group, we can divide the work and make enough pasta for 12 people in two hours.

We also share the costs. As a form of “entry fee”, each participant brings an ingredient for the desired dish. In this way we learn the recipe, but it also guarantees attendance, since we can’t start cooking until all the ingredients arrive. The way we organise this is by using collaborative (ideally Open Source) online tools, such as Titanpad.

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Large turnout for the first event of 2017. Way to welcome the new year with Nadeem and Biryani!

This Sunday’s workshop was by far the largest yet, almost 50 people came to meet. Of course, there’s not work for 50 people in the kitchen, but the atmosphere was wonderful, and there were several children present.

With so many people though, it’s difficult to ration the food, and there was just enough for everyone to have a plate of vegetarian biryani, thanks to Chef Nadeem’s foresight in increasing the quantities. We are happy that so many people got introduced to Options FoodLab on this occasion, maybe one of them will lead the next workshop!

Maike spontaneously makes a Tempeh appetizer for the growing crowd!

Maike spontaneously makes a Tempeh appetizer for the growing crowd!

Besides giving people a chance to showcase their talents to the community they are part of, it also enables us to see how something we may think of as commonplace could actually be a major crowd-pleaser in a wider context. For example Taher, the kitchen coordinator for Options, said that in Syria his Italian and French dishes were in high demand, it was only here that he started cooking Syrian! He never thought that people would like it so much, but the reviews about his food do not lie, in Athens it’s Syrian food that people want, and they want it from Taher!

We look forward to seeing you at our next event, same time, same place!

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