Denmark's Boundless Kitchen Elevates Refugees (And Their Food)
The act of cooking food sets humans apart from other animals, and the act of sharing food can help bring our species together. In response to Denmark's 2016 immigration laws, which make it harder for immigrants to settle in the country, restaurateur and entrepreneur Jakob Vinkler led the creation of Det Grænseløse Køkken, or "The Boundless Kitchen." It's a simple food truck with a complex mission: to unify communities with a common cultural experience.
Food With Thought
According to Condé Nast Traveler, The Boundless Kitchen is a "semi-mobile community hall and professional kitchen" that's "used as a platform to connect different communities." Vinkler coined the concept after inviting locals to a monthly Fællesspisning, or "folk kitchens" at his restaurant Smag, in Ebeltoft. He realized that bringing a community together to enjoy a casual meal deserved its own "identity." In May 2016, the food truck and greenhouse concept was born.
Vinkler hires refugees for internship positions where they're able to cook food from their home countries. The interns create their own menus, help prepare the food, then join diners for fællesspisningerne (common meals). Like famed chef and TV star Anthony Bourdain, Vinkler is interested in using food as a social tool to break down boundaries.
As the kitchen's project operator, Anna Oline Laumark, explains, "The new citizens have a chance to develop their language and social skills; they can take ownership by presenting their food traditions and sharing them with Danish people — with pride."
From Denmark, To Everyone
The Boundless Kitchen has received a lot of positive feedback from locals, so their team is looking to expand the project in late 2017. Laumark hopes to grow the seeds they've planted with hopes that "the roots will spread," encouraging people to open up and to simply share a meal together "without borders."