FIRE KITCHEN Vienna took place in cooperation with the Austrian Caritas group Kompa and invited refugees from different countries (Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iran) and neighbours to participate in a 10 day action in an enchanted backyard garden in the center of Vienna: starting from a selected recipe a cooking pot and a table stove were designed and built from clay. Throughout the first days, several cooking pots, steamers, tajines, open baking pans and closed ovens, coffee and tea pots and jugs were created.
After drying, the vessels were burned in simple wood fire ovens made from metal bins: at a low temperature of 800∞ the pots become dense enough to be used for cooking though staying porous enough for resisting the extreme temperature difference while cooking on open fire and at the same time being able to absorbe water to be dispensed during gentle cooking or evaporate on the exterior for cooling. In a second reduction burning the vessels could be finished with a matte black surface through oxygen exclusion making them hydrophobic and thus better for cooking.
Most cultures used to cook in clay pots on open fire and many beautiful examples and knowledge, which accumulated over a long time can still be found in South America, North and South Africa, Asia, the Middle East etc today. As European citizens we are relatively distant from this culture. We are used to cook in pots and containers whose cultural and material origins we donít know. For visitors and participants, fire-kitchen wanted to make possible to experience the exemplary process from the raw material clay through manufacturing, processing and burning to the communal cooking and dinner feast.
As designers and initiators of the project fire-kitchen we prefer to have a role in which we can learn from each other. Regarding the topic of cooking, we are used to serve ourselves at other cultures without going in depth into any personal exchange. A booklet is giving explanations about basic knowledge of materials and processes, presenting a selection of traditional pots and recipes from all over the world and proposing patterns for the building of some simple objects.
The original idea for fire-kitchen came up on a trip to Brazil, asking Reni from Bahia to cook the traditional Moqueca de Peixe with us (delicious dish from fish, vegetables, coconut milk, palm oil, lime and coriander). He first refused cooking it and arrived a couple of days later with a large, round, black pot made from clay arranging and delicately cooking the fish in it.
The fascination and curiosity for cooking in clay was born.
The setting was made representing only the necessary working steps: pieces of textile are used first for rolling and working the clay and finally to cover the festive dinner table; the seasonal ingredients come from the nearby social garden Gin; the archaic fire is attracting neighbours and visitors from far into the dark abandoned yard for the communal, festive, exciting and particular evening.
The Fire-Kitchen Vienna took place in the framework of the Vienna Design Week 2016 Stadtarbeit Format.
It received the MehrWERT-Designpreis 2016 for social design of Erste Bank Austria.
Team: Johanna Dehio, Mascha Fehse, Valentina Karga, Liza Schluder, Sèbastien Tripod