Robin Food - the idealist kitchen
On Mondays and Thursdays the side door inside De Nieuwe Anita opens into a world of delicious, home-cooked vegetarian food. Welcome to the Robin Food kitchen!
The front of De Nieuwe Anita was packed with people standing and eating slices of carrot and coconut cake. The cakes were made by Anne, the owner and cook of the food initative, Robin Food. She started the kitchen behind De Nieuwe Anita three years ago, together with her best friend, Branko. Anne was no stranger to cooking for bigger groups. She worked in an Indonesian restaurant when she was younger and she also used to cook in squats. Cooking is her favourite thing to do and she loves it because it’s one of the easiest jobs you can do, she thinks. “You cook for people, you put food in their mouth, they are happy, then your job is done. It doesn’t get easier than that.” Anne and Branko run the business together, with help from a few volunteers. “Most volunteers come to help out for a few days, but end up staying with us for as long as 2-3 months because they feel like home, like they are part of the family.”
Anne also hosts cooking workshops for children at the Robin Food kitchen. She teaches the kids how to cook all sorts of stuff, like pizza, pesto, soups, cakes, smoothies or pancakes. “We want to be educational by example. No one wants to be told what to do, and especially what to eat. We are not preaching vegetarianism, but I think the fact that our kitchen is always packed and fully booked shows that people love eating vegetarian and vegan food,” she says. Although she doesn’t preach, Anne does dream of an ideal world. “The ideal world for me would be one in which nobody eats animals and where we all take care of each other, not just ourselves.”
The people who come to eat at Robin Food are a mixed bunch – students, entrepreneurs, artists, activists, people on dates or people on business meetings, people who are life-long vegans or people who are trying to cut down on their meat consumption. Anne is happy to see there is such a big interest in vegetarian food. “The problem with the food system today,” she thinks, “is that everyone only thinks about efficiency – how can we feed as many people as possible, in the shortest amount of time, using the least amount of resources. That’s why we have monocultures, pesticides, GMOs and a thousand cows in one stable. There is enough food for everyone, but the problem is it doesn’t get to the people that need it.”
After all the guests leave the kitchen, Anne turns the music up, opens a bottle of beer and finally sits down and eats something with the rest of the team. They talk about the feeling of home and about ideals, like you do at a family dinner table. “If everyone would cut down on meat, buy organic, local and seasonal as much as possible and share it with the people that need it most, we would have a healthy food system,” she says. “I have never been an activist, I don’t like to preach. But maybe my food speaks for itself.”
Robin Food kitchen serves delicious vegetarian dinners every Monday and Thursday, from 6pm, at De Nieuwe Anita.