I first joined Multi Kulti Kitchen in 2012. I found out about an event that they were organizing to showcase American cuisine and the traditional Thanksgiving experience. I had offered to make a New York-style cheesecake and cranberry sauce. The event was in February and the day of the event, we had a huge snow storm; I also happened to be 7 months pregnant and driving in a snow storm from Kyustendil to Sofia was not in the cards for me. The cheesecake however did not go to waste. The next time I went to Sofia, I met up with the founders of Multi Kulti Kitchen, Zvezda Vankova, Bistra Ivanova and Ivelina Metchkova and told them that I want to join. Our first coffee together in March 2012 on Vitosha Bulevard was the beginning of our partnership and all of the wonderful events and projects that have happen since then.
In order to celebrate properly, a party was in order and with the help of all of our partners, we were able to organize a huge event with over 350 guests to thank everyone that has supported us over these past three years, but also focusing on the future and continuing the multi cultural efforts. Bulgaria Mall graciously offered to host our event in the gorgeous atrium of the mall, which is cultural hub, as much as it is a commercial center, they are frequently organizing fantastic events and special programs for children. Our party was a multi faceted one, there was food from some of the Multi Kulti Map partners: LOMO, Spice House, Foodies’, Gurkha, L’Etranger and Freddie from Ashurbanipal.
a wine tasting from Casavino,
entertainment from DJ Dancing Angel of the Global Vision Circle, as well as a beautiful belly dancing performance and music by Dafar Shaban.
While enjoying the food, wine and atmosphere, the map art work was on display for the event and remain at the mall till the end of the week.
For the last 3 years, MKK had showcased over 25 courntries, 5 continents and helped to introduce thousands of Bulgarians to cultures that might have been otherwise out of their reach. Many people ask me why is this important. As an American in Bulgaria, I found that my acceptance among Bulgarians is quite high. It does help that I am married to a Bulgarian and can communicate somewhat effectively in their native tongue, but not all immigrants are treated the same. There are many nationalistic people that spew words of hate and intolerance and as long as this bigotry is allowed to infest Bulgaria, there will always be a need for organizations that work for tolerance, acceptance and respect for their fellow humans. The best part about Multi Kulti is that we use food as the bridge between cultures and good food is a great common ground to find mutal acceptance and understanding.
Beside the food events, MKC is working on a larger scale towards policy change and reform for refugees and immigrants to help protect their rights and quality of life. With all that is happening in the region, with Syria and who knows maybe Ukraine and the former Soviet Bloc, there could be a large swell of people looking to escape war and find respite in Bulgaria.
One of our projects, which have stemmed from the MKK events is the MK Map, which features restaurants, cafes and shops that focus on multi cultural offerings and a few Bulgarian spots too. The map was designed by the fantastic team at Compote Collective. In addition to the map, each of the 26 places had an individual image created to represent them. These 26 images are available as posters to purchase. All proceeds from the sales, will be donated to MKC for our future initiatives.