Me(a)t the Cooks!

Hasmik and Lusine collectively run the family catering business Hay Catering from Elburg, the Netherlands. They will be the cooks in charge of the two-course menu during PLOV #1 and #2 ARTxFOODxCINEMA, organised on 29 May and 19 June at Studio/K in collaboration with IDFA.

 Uzbek/Armenian plov, to be prepared by Hasmik and Lusine for PLOV #1 and #2.

Uzbek/Armenian plov, to be prepared by Hasmik and Lusine for PLOV #1 and #2.

As in many other cultures, sharing and eating food together is at the centrepiece of the Armenian cultural experience. Armenians have dishes reserved specifically for holidays and national celebrations, to welcome their guests into their home, to thank them, to commemorate and mourn their loved ones.

Every dish has its own story and brings back powerful memories. We like to share these stories and memories with those who may be curious about Armenian gastronomy, or simply up for sampling new flavours.

Since 1999, my mother Hasmik and I (Lusine) have been living in the Netherlands, in the beautiful village of Elburg. While my mother was taught how to cook by my grandmother, I learned from the both of them over the years.

Inspired by our desire to keep on bringing people together from different cultural and social backgrounds and exchange experiences, the idea of Hay Catering came into existence. We take care of gastronomical samplers for different events, and we always make sure to convey the stories behind the dishes.

 Hasmik (left) and Lusine (right), caterers for the AFEW Culture Initiative.

Hasmik (left) and Lusine (right), caterers for the AFEW Culture Initiative.

Plov, plof, pilaf, palau, pilau, pelau, pilafi, pulav, palaw, pilaw, pulaka... The origin of this celebrated rice dish with meat and vegetables can be traced back to the Middle East, and is still known and enjoyed across the post-Soviet countries, but also in countries like Iran, Iraq or Tanzania. Every country, every region and every family has a different recipe and preference when it comes to plov.

In Armenia, the Uzbek and perhaps best-known version of plov is the most popular one. This is the version we will prepare together on 29 May for the occasion of PLOV #1. We will be substituting the original lamb-based version for a chicken-based version, accompanied with rice, carrots, onion, garlic, raisins, salt, pepper and Central Asian spices. Vegetarians beware: we will also cook a meatless option for you to sample! We hope you all enjoy the richness of the dish almost as much as we do.

[Text by Lusine]