A kitchen without borders

Friday saw the summer opening of Det Grænseløse Køkken at Den Ny Maltfabrik in Ebeltoft. A kitchen that proposes the initiative of eating together as a way of meeting new people.

by Miriam Thiel-Alberts

Det Grænseløse Køkken (Kitchen without Borders) has finally opened its doors in Ebeltoft for the second summer season for their Fællesspisning (‘eating together’) event. Jakob Vinkler, founder of Ebeltoft’s restaurant Smag, has always been interested in creating spaces where people can eat and meet, and where “things can happen”, which is not a must, but a possibility.

It all started five years ago with evenings eating together at his small restaurant. Soon the events – consisting of sharing a delicious meal and meeting new people – became too big for his small restaurant, and he had to find an alternative.

When space is a vital ingredient to your vision, it’s difficult to find something that already exists, and so Vinkler joined forces with the architects from Bureau Detours to create a custom-made space for his events. The result of this union is a wooden house that reminds you of a glasshouse, in which things can grow and develop. Inside there are long wooden tables where people can sit, eat, talk and be inspired. Sometimes they host small concerts, readings or other events to entertain the guests after dinner.


The setting was designed by Bureau Detours architects (photo: Miriam Thiel-Alberts)

Food and people: the best combination
Frans van der Woude had been looking for a project to combine food with people all his life, and he found it in Det Grænselose Køkken, which he manages. From now until the end of summer the doors of Det Grænseløse Køkken will open every Thursday from 18:00-21:00, where a meal will be shared with new acquaintances that may potentially become new friends.

I have attended many of their eating together events, and the food is truly divine. Everything is freshly prepared, and it doesn’t just satisfy your hunger, but also tingles your taste buds. There is always a lot of everything, and the price of 100 DKK is more than fair for the wonderful dishes.

The concept is far from the restaurant type, there is no á la carte service; you need to get involved. The food is brought to the tables on big plates to share with the people sitting around you. It’s a way of interacting and making conversation, and that is the main goal of Det Grænseløse Køkken: getting to know people.

A colorful plate with a purple beetroot salad (photo by Reint Alberts)

A colourful plate of lentils and beetroot salad (photo: Reint Alberts)

Sharing worldwide experiences
On the opening on Friday, things did happen. While enjoying a delicious lamb tagine with beetroot salad and lentils, I met a family from Copenhagen with their three small children. I got to practice my Danish skills with one of the kids, and found out that he really likes the amusement park, Tivoli. While his father, Kim, shared his thoughts on the progression of the Danes from the war-loving country of Vikings to the peaceful and hyggelig-loving nation that is Denmark today.

A bit like a potluck dinner, you never know what you will experience. And even though the feeling is very hygge, Frans explains that the concept of the kitchen is the opposite of hygge. Hygge is something you do with your family and best friends, alone in your home. Det Grænseløse Køkken is about sharing with people you have never met. And by tearing down the borders of preconception, we all become humans who are hungry for food, love and art. Pretty simple, yet fantastic, isn’t it?

If you like the concept, why not join Det Grænselose Køkken as a volunteer, and meet people from all over the world. To take part in their events, sign up by sending an e-mail to dgkkontakt@gmail.com.

If you happen to live in Aarhus, there’s great news: Ilsted, another ‘eating together’ venue, will open its doors at Godsbanen this May.

Visit Det Grænselose Køkken’s website for more information, or follow them on Facebook for news and updates.

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