Nobody knows more about Berlin’s contemporary food scene than Kavita Meelu. The British-Indian, who has been living in the German capital for six years, is always on the lookout for new and exciting concepts. With her Street Food Thursday, she unleashed a craving for delicious street food. The 31-year-old has also made a name for herself with Mother’s Mother, a monthly supper club honouring the recipes of mothers and grandmothers from around the world. She coordinates the Berlin division of Kitchensurfing, an agency through which creative young chefs can be booked for private dinners. And she is the mastermind behind the party events Burgers & Hip Hop and the Bar Market.
What does street food mean to you?
Kavita Meelu: Street food for me is more about the individual creating the food than about the food itself. The gap between the kitchen and dining room is eliminated. You have direct contact with the people who cook the food. You can hear their stories and find out about their culture. Street food is also all about individuals pushing the boundaries of food production and being creative about food. I don’t want my burger served with Heinz ketchup. I want the homemade ketchup from the guy who has experimented and found that it tastes best when some bone marrow is added to it.
Has the food scene in Berlin changed since you arrived?
Kavita Meelu: Berlin has always been such a creative and free city. Only the food scene lagged behind. It was very institutionalised. One had to train for years to become a chef, and lots of money had to be invested to start a restaurant. Thanks to the street food movement, this is slowly changing. Trapped talent is being unlocked. I also think restaurant owners and chefs now see the thousands of people flocking to all the food events popping up around the city and they realise that things can actually work differently.
What is your favourite street food?
Kavita Meelu: I love everything from Mr. Susan Ramen Bar, because of the nerdy but soulful approach to Korean street food.