Next Tuesday Andreea Buteata will host a Romanian pop-up dinner at Café Futuro in Neukölln. Last week I was lucky to photograph Andreea’s dishes as she tested out some inspiration for her menu. Here, Andreea answers a few questions about what we can look forward to!
Fried chicken, with pear and caramelised leeks
Tell us about the dishes you’re preparing for the pop-up:
I tried to look at some older recipes and see how I can bring that back into focus. I think Romanian food is very focused on comfort and sustainability, so by making these recipes I’m trying to use up humble, simple ingredients and show that that’s really all you need for a great meal. I’m aiming to put up some oozy, melting, rib-sticking dishes, but as I’m still trying some things out I’ll reveal the menu a bit later this week.
Chicken and tomato stew with pear and garlic
How did you learn to cook?
I’m not sure how or when it happened, I just left home and at some point I started craving some good old home cooking, which then led to some extended phone and Skype sessions with my grandma for endless details. So I guess I learned on my own a bit with her help, after which I worked with Suzy Fracassa here in Berlin and I learned a lot from her as well. I’m just a home cook with the tiniest bit of experience in a professional kitchen.
Poached apple with yogurt and mint dressing, pomegranate and roast almonds
What are your favourite things about Romanian food?
I really like how everything fits well together. I guess this is a bit harder to explain, but traditional cooking goes back to using up all of the scraps, yet it’s definitely not modest. Romanian dishes can really shine and they of course the ones you cook for a holiday or celebration require hours of work and I think that’s the fun part of it. And in the end, I feel that it’s such a mix of cultures and that’s reflected in the food as well, from stuffed wine leaves to sour beet soup to pastries with odd seasonings.
When you are not cooking yourself, where do you like to eat in Berlin?
I’ve had a really nice meal at Go Bento and I’ll happily go to any street food market. I’ve also had some pretty fantastic cheese and butter at Maitre Phillipe et Fils if that counts.
Are you planning more pop-ups?!!!
I definitely want to do something that would have more of a dinner format, with people gathering together around a table and sharing food. I think that would give me a lot more freedom in terms of really having an experience instead of ordering a meal. No date set for now, but definitely to come soon.