30 Jun 2015

Conflict Kitchen

From Nine To Noon, 11:26 am on 30 June 2015

Conflict Kitchen, in Pittsburgh, USA, was created by artists Dawn Weleski and Joh Rubin, to expose Pittsburgh palates to something new while promoting an understanding of other cultures. In the four years since it opened, the shop has transformed itself every few months to feature food from Afghanistan, Iran, Cuba, North Korea and Venezuela, dishing up lamb kebabs, kimchi and ceviche for 200 to 300 customers each day.

The eatery defines conflict broadly as war, boycotts, embargoes, military clashes and diplomatic quarrels. As policy makers debated troop withdrawals from Afghanistan, the specialty was bolani (savoury turnovers stuffed with spinach, red lentils or potatoes). Amid concerns over Iran's nuclear program, there was kubideh (seasoned ground beef wrapped in flatbread). For the Persian theme, the restaurant staged dinner at a house nearby at which guests Skyped with people in Iran who were eating the same dishes.

Kathryn Ryan talks with co-creator of Conflict Kitchen, Dawn Weleski.

The Conflict Kitchen is a finalist in The 2015 International Award for Public Art, which is being co-hosted by Auckland's Elam School of Fine Arts, the University of Auckland, New Zealand and the Shandong University of Art & Design in China.