Heritage Recipe Slam

Heritage Recipe Slam at Old Salt Marketplace – October 25

On October 25, Old Salt Marketplace will host the Eco-Gastronomy Project’s first-ever “Heritage Recipe Slam.” The event comprises a mash-up of spoken word, gastronomic culture, and artistic expression. As members of the public recount traditional familial recipes, one cook and one painter will draw inspiration to carry out their own improvisational performances using selected ‘ingredients’ (food and latex paint, respectively).

The event is part of the Eco-Gastronomy Project, which is a research/knowledge-exchange project directed by David Szanto for the University of Gastronomic Sciences (UNISG) in Italy. The Project is on an international tour that will visit 14 countries around the world from 2015-2017. They will host workshops, lectures and panel discussions, food-making and eating experiences with local collaborators to build an international network of food visionaries, building innovation, resilience, and justice into global food systems.
Eco Gastronomy Project
At Tuesday night’s Recipe Slam, recipe tellers will be giving a short, narrative-style account of a family or heritage recipe from their own world. They will also bring their dish for people to taste. Their narratives will serve as the inspiration for chefs Ben Meyer of Old Salt Marketplace and Kusuma Rao of Ruchikala to riff on, and make some additional dishes that emerge for them in real-time. The narratives will also serve to inspire artist Ursula Barton’s painted foodscape. Wine is provided by Brooks Winery.

“We conceived this event as a way to activate the idea of Eco-Gastronomy in Portland, a place that is creative and innovative and cool in many more ways that you know better than me. The point is to show how food (and recipes, cooking, dishes) connects all sorts of kinds of creation–verbal, material, visual, gestural. Not too complicated, but we forget sometimes, how central food is in making… well, humanity.”
– David Szanto, UNISG, Italy


Attend the Heritage Recipe Slam

When: Tuesday, October 25; 6:00 – 9:30 pm
Where: Old Salt Marketplace, 5027 NE 42nd Ave, Portland
Tickets: $5 admission, register by emailing David Szanto at [email protected]@it

Q&A with Evan Gregoire and Kusuma Rao

We asked a couple of the Recipe Slam participants about the upcoming event. Evan Gregoire is a farmer, owner of Portland Seedhouse and one of the recipe tellers. Kusuma Rao of Ruchikala is a local chef and will be working with Ben Meyer of Old Salt to create dishes inspired by the recipe tellers.

Let Um Eat: What entices you about the Recipe Slam?

Evan Gregoire: Food is culture. Anyway I can participate in bringing more culture in Portland is really what enticed me to want to be a part of the event. A friend suggested I should be a recipe teller for the slam as my travels have brought me all over the world to taste some dynamic meals and products from far away regions.

Let Um Eat: Do you know what recipe you’re planning on slamming? Why did you pick that recipe?

Evan Gregoire: The recipe I chose was one that I feel very connected with personally. I’m creating my own Heritage and culture with the food I grow in Oregon, and the tromboncino squash has been a mainstay for years in my house and farm. After my 2014 trip to Italy, I brought back a family squash jam recipe that has been passed down for generations there. An Italian Farmer friend woke me up in the morning with this prize on some toast. The color and flavors were spot on. I know this is a family treasure that needs to be shared with many others.

Let Um Eat: What entices you about the Recipe Slam?

Kusuma Rao: For the past 7 years or so I’ve been doing an Indian fusion popup that relies heavily on storytelling. I’ve always worked by myself and prep every course in solitude, so each course feels very personal.

Food can be so intimate and touch people so deeply. Everyone’s relationship with it is so different. It’s really reflects a lot of our inner landscape, our upbringing, our desires, our curiosities. I am forever fascinated in the multitude of experiences surrounding eating, but because I am always telling the stories, I rarely get to hear those moments of connection around food from other people, what drives other people to a particular dish or recipe. The recipe slam sounds like an amazing opportunity to challenge my natural inclination towards introversion and get a window into intimate culinary relationships of complete and total strangers.

Let Um Eat: So it sounds like you’re going to be “riffing on” the narratives from the recipe tellers and creating dishes to supplement theirs. How does one prepare for an event like this?

Kusuma Rao: Good Question! Do you have any advice for me? It’s scary thing. I think I will just probably bring my knives, masala dabba and curry leaves from my tree back home as some kind of security blanket. It’s an exercise in letting go of the outcome, putting the perfectionist tendencies on hold and staying present throughout the experience.
Heritage Recipe Slam

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