The 'Mottainai' Concept: A Buddhist Style Of Cooking In Neukoelln The first "Share Your Food" event at Fortuna's Table in Neukoelln was a successful start for Brazilian chef Taina Guedes. Some 100 people showed up for a meal that utilizes the Japanese "Mottainai" concept: reduce, reuse, and recycle.
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The 'Mottainai' Concept: A Buddhist Style Of Cooking In Neukoelln

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The 'Mottainai' Concept: A Buddhist Style Of Cooking In Neukoelln

The 'Mottainai' Concept: A Buddhist Style Of Cooking In Neukoelln

The 'Mottainai' Concept: A Buddhist Style Of Cooking In Neukoelln

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/135446212/135446993" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Chef Taina Guedes, who studied culinary art in Japan, hosted her first "Share Your Food" at Fortuna's Table in Neukölln. Monika Mueller-Kroll for NPR hide caption

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Monika Mueller-Kroll for NPR

"Share Your Food" is a new project in Berlin inspired by the way chef Taina Guedes cooks.

"You have to prepare everything to put your energy, your soul through the food. So you have to try mostly to make things without machines," Guedes says.

Guedes' vegetarian creations are a mix of Brazilian food and Japanese cuisine. The 32 year-old grew up in Sao Paulo and later became a chef in Japan.

She says she practices a Buddhist style of cooking.

"Respect the nature. You have to reduce, reuse and recycle. Don't waste food. I try to use everything. I have carrots, and I use the green parts. Many people throw it away. They are very delicious, and you can make different dishes out of them."

Guedes follows the Japanese concept of "Mottainai," an ancient Buddhist term which encourages sharing instead of waste.

Together with her partner Thomas Meyer and her Brazilian friend Camila Soares, she has organized the first "Share Your Food" event at Fortuna's Table in Neukölln.

Taina Guedes works in the kitchen at Fortuna's Table. Monika Mueller-Kroll for NPR hide caption

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Monika Mueller-Kroll for NPR

Taina Guedes works in the kitchen at Fortuna's Table.

Monika Mueller-Kroll for NPR

Meyer says he sees something very intuitive about the idea of food sharing.

"I guess there is a need for social warmth, because in the media you see all the horror news, and to share something is very basic. Our beginning of culture is based on sharing, and our idea starts very basic. You can share an idea, or a nice recipe, or something," Meyer says.

Meyer shared music while other Berliners shared drawings, live animation and poems. But the main attraction was Guedes' food: wholemeal sandwiches composed of spiced white cheese, beetroot, olives and lettuce. Crispy rice balls filled with carrots and creamy cheese were just two of the dishes offered.

Camila Soares says she loves the fact that whenever people sit at a table, so many things can come out of it.

"It's a place where people kind of start and say, 'OK,' and an initiative is being brought up by them."

"Share Your Food" is an ongoing project, Soares says. Everything that was brought to the table will end up in a "shared-zine." The next event will take place on a farm outside of Berlin - again with Guedes' vegetarian creations and the outcome of the first event in the form of a printed magazine.