Climbing up the stairs to reach Kind Kitchen, I realize that the words written on the wall tell me a lot about the personalities of those at the helm of one of Bogotá’s most creative, health-conscious kitchens. “Cooking with love provides food for the soul,” brandishes one saying. “Kind products, people cooking” reads another.
Paulette Kassim and Dorita Moreinis are the foodie entrepreneurs of a venture that rises early to prepare health-conscious meals for clients that are concerned about what ingredients go into their bodies. In a fast-paced urban lifestyle, what we need is sustenance that gives us a metabolic boost.
All health food entrepreneurs grapple with an unfounded belief that “if food is healthy, it must be bland.” Fortunately, skeptics of the health-food revolution are slowly being lured away from carb rich meals, with alternatives that are creative and savoury. This is where Paulette and Dorita are helping to change the mindset. “Conscious eating in the United States is all over the place,” said Moreinis. “Here, if you mess with someone’s food, it’s like messing with their survival.”
When Kind Kitchen launched in January 2015, the founders identified a niche for cooking healthy meals that can either be picked up at their store or delivered to your home or office. With a menu that constantly evolves, and portions that range from roasted snacks to vegetable-based canapés, salads, wraps and cashew-based ice cream, Kind Kitchen works only with “honest” ingredients.
Superfoods rich in nutrients, such as spices, nuts, seeds, dark chocolate and dehydrated fruits, are sold from a small enclave near the main kitchen. If you are looking for a substitute for butter, a homemade Indian ghee is a fast mover, and their seven flavors of hummus can be prepared while you wait.
Paulette and Dorita host cooking lessons from Monday to Friday in which clients must prepare a delicious meal with ingredients that one may not instinctively imagine could substitute cooking oils, sugars, and lactose. These morning and evening sessions are designed to be educational and a meeting place for strangers to share experiences about food and its nutritional qualities. And at least once a month, Kind Kitchen invites chefs from around the world to feature a traditional dish prepared with their vegetarian philosophy.
So far, the owners have featured Greece, Japan, India, Mexico, and the Middle East. “We want people to fall in love again with cooking,” said Kassim. “To cook not just for themselves, but for others.” The price of attending a workshop is $120,000 pesos for adults and $70,000 pesos for teenagers.
Even though there is plenty of reading material on the manipulative nature of the food industry — and why teenagers with too much sugar in their system are easily distracted, hyperactive, and irritable — unless you have experienced this within your own family, it is hard to break away from routine dietary habits. Hence, the importance of getting youngsters enthusiastic about cooking.
Kind Kitchen has generated a buzz in Bogotá, and the client list is growing, mainly by word of mouth and the company’s ability to manage social media with Facebook and Instagram. The founders also feel passionately that health food must “dare to be different,” as is it too easy to equate vegetarian dining with a bowl of salad.
Even though the entrepreneurs are keen to talk about all things related to food, they also research specific health-related conditions that can be alleviated or remedied by changing one’s diet. Every six months, Kind Kitchen presents a seven-day detox program with the help of the Miami-based traditional medicine expert Susan Farkas. During the detox days, Kassim and Moreinis design a menu to meet your specific health needs. The program also includes a week of yoga at Yogastudio.
So, even though creative food preparation is at the heart of this artisanal kitchen, its spectrum is broader. “It’s about connecting with your body,” claims Kassim. “Food is the future of medicine.”
Getting home after a long day at work and then having to decide what to cook can be a real challenge. This is where one tends to go for fast and, more often than not, least nutritious options. Breaking with processed foods, refined sugars and saturated fats requires more than just will power, and eating healthy has to begin in your own kitchen.
If you need advice on how to begin implementing those necessary changes to what you are eating, Kind Kitchen is open from dawn to dusk. All you need to do, is read the writing on wall.
Calle 79A No. 8-82 (second floor)