There is an obvious democracy in food: it’s a terrific social and cultural leveller. It’s an icebreaker among strangers. It’s a unifier among disparate groups. Collaborating through the language of food is, to me, an endless gift.
While I am learning daily from the Zambians with whom I collaborate, I am teaching them how to refashion their traditional and wild ingredients into a contemporary native cuisine that is being served in award-winning restaurants and lodges around the country.
Food has led me to train single Zambian mothers to become chefs, while Chris and I created a farm preschool to give their children a fair start.
Food led me to collaborating with a community of foragers living on and around our farm to gather wild edibles for my bush gourmet cuisine, while the collaboration with our Zambian gardeners allows for each of us to exchange our knowledge on growing fruits and vegetables in our productive organic garden.
My hope is that the Zambian food narrative, so rich because of the nation’s diversity, is not lost. I have seen how many young affluent Zambians are unaware of the bounty rendered from the rural fields and bush, shopping, as so many of them do, in Western-style grocery stores rather than in the traditional markets. By choosing the market over the grocery store, not only is one choosing undomesticated produce — trending today in all the top food destinations around the world — but one is uplifting and enriching the lives of those fellow Zambians who work really hard foraging or growing the food.