Basel - the Swiss chapter
After Eindhoven and Dutch Design Week, our next stop was Basel, where friends Becky and Lukas had kindly said we could stay for a few weeks for a collaboration fundraising event with their organisation ‘Salvage & Wild’. They use food that is either foraged or destined to be thrown away for a variety of reasons. They transform ingredients into a high quality tasting menu that pops up in different locations around Basel and proceeds are used to feed local homeless people. Amazing work.
As with all our events, Basel was going to be unique, combining people and resources we could find to create something special - Lukas generously using his local connections for a ‘recipes of HOPE’ meal, 'Salvage & Wild' style.
Through our own experiences we have seen an unbelievable amount of food wasted. There are many reasons: past the ‘use by date’, slightly damaged, misshapen or just not uniform enough to pass grading. 'Salvage & Wild' are working to change perceptions about what waste food is and how we can use it better.
A few days later and we were meeting one of Lukas’s previous junior chefs, Timon, who was now head chef at Schmatz, a restaurant at the Basel Sound Studios complex. We hoped they may be up for a restaurant takeover? Timon and Jakob, the restaurant manager, with the blessings of the owner, were more than happy to offer the restaurant and kitchen for us to use: the date was set for Saturday 2nd December. Timon was happy to join us in the kitchen and Jakob offered to do front of house with Emma and two of his friends Luca and Melanie.
We had also been talking with Sabri - another chef friend of Lukas’ - originally from an Egyptian Bedouin tribe, he has been based in Switzerland for many years, a brilliant guy and a very talented chef who was also very happy to join us in the kitchen.
So venue and date sorted and the team had come together - all on a voluntary basis with everyone donating their time. THANKYOU.
A few calls later and we also had our first supplier on board Marktsteiner who was willing to let us have a selection of ‘excess to requirement’ vegetables. Lukas and Timon were both waiting to find out what these were - although would not find out until the morning of the event. Already Lukas had his eye on some sea buckthorns that Sparky had picked and preserved from Lønstrup in Denmark and some ideas how to include his home-brewed kombucha.
At The Welcome Tent: Eindhoven, we had cooked a pop-up Angolan meal at Het Jongerenhuis for Dutch Design Week. Traditionally the Angolan soup would have been prepared with pigs snouts and trotters, but as there were lots of people who did not eat pork, we kept it pig free. By coincidence, Dick a local resident and founder of Refu-Bikes, gave us a typical Noord-Brabant ‘recipe of HOPE’ dish, which was also made with pig’s head.
Inspired by the Angolan and Brabant dishes, Sparky had been thinking how to incorporate this into The Welcome Tent: Basel. A call to Marc at a local butcher Aeschlimann and it was confirmed that 3 pigs heads could be salted and cold smoked, much like bacon. We also had our first reservations. Marc and his father (also a butcher) were interested to see the result.
Sabri also had an idea. He wanted to pay homage to the famous French Chef Bernard Loiseaux who tragically committed suicide after losing his coveted third Michelin star. Sabri wanted to do an Arabic version of one of Bertrand’s signature dishes: frogs legs with garlic puree and parsley sauce.
Roast pumpkin soup, Maroccan bread
Sabri: Chicken lollipops, tabouleh, garlic puree, sauce corse
Lukas: Lovage-breaded roast carrots, beets, red rice porridge, sea-buckthorn, hop kombucha, vinaigrette
Sparky: Smoked pigs head pot au feu, crispy ears, pasteis, root vegetables, spiced bok choi
Sudanese 'recipe of HOPE' chai tea & doughnuts
Timon: Yogurt mousse, grape sorbet, crispy grape skins, pain d’epice
One of the most impressive organisations we have seen on this journey is Refugee Community Kitchen who are working in Northern France and the UK, feeding "without judgement" over 2500 displaced people per day in Calais alone since 2015. This is where part of our story really started – where Sparky first volunteered as a chef in 2015. We also visited a local charity in Basel called ‘Soup and chill’ and their project 'Restaurant du coeur' where you "pay what the purse can give or what the heart wants to give". This cafe enables displaced people to gain work experience and learn Swiss-German by cooking rescued food to feed people on the margins of society.
We decided that The Welcome Tent: Basel would split the fundraising proceeds between these volunteer-led organisations which are both helping to keep people and hope alive. We are very proud to have donated £350 to each organisation and grateful to Schmatz Restaurant for donating the proceeds of the bar towards the journey onwards to Paris.