Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Update on Conflict Kitchen

Two years ago (wow, really, that was two years ago?!?), I wrote about an intriguing project just getting started in Pittsburgh, called Conflict Kitchen. The premise was to focus on the food of a country with which America is in some kind of conflict, using the food to engage people in learning about these countries. The other day, I came across this Los Angeles Times article profiling the project, and its anticipated expansion from a stand serving street food to go, to a full-service restaurant in downtown Pittsburgh. Since the last time I read about them, they've done Persian, Afghan, and Venezuelan food, are planning for a Cuban iteration soon, and are also exploring a North Korean version. If you're in the Pittsburgh area, check them out!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Cultural Diplomacy and Turkish Coffee

This is what I call closing the last 3 feet of public diplomacy: handing out free Turkish coffee on the streets of DC, and inspiring lots of conversations about Turkey, Turkish culture, Turkish food, and Turkish coffee fortune telling in the process. 

 And I get to be a part of it! I would write more, but I'm headed to New York with the crew tomorrow as they spread the Turkish coffee love around the East Coast. So in the meantime, check out the Turkayfe website for more info on the project, and look out for lots of pictures and videos (courtesy of my newfangled DSLR) to come!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Chipotle's CSR

Since taking on a full-time internship in November that sadly for this blog has little connection to food and travel, my bandwidth for writing about these topics has been constrained. Of course, my appetite, both figurative and literal (get it? Literal? I made a double pun!), has not waned.

Chowing down on a puka dog in Hawaii

My internship deals with sustainability and corporate social responsibility communications, and one of my interview questions was, predictably, "What large company's sustainability efforts do you admire?" I say that the question was (or should have been) predictable, but clearly unemployment had hampered my clairvoyance, and I froze, afraid to mention a brand name that had some horrible environmental or social practice known only by true CSR experts. Or worse yet, that I might incriminate one of their clients as a bad example of CSR. Luckily a week-long temp gig a few weeks earlier got me through: I said something about admiring companies that fully integrate sustainability principles into all aspects of their activities, and cited National Geographic's zero-waste policy in their headquarters as an example of an organization expressing its mission -- conservation of the world -- through every little detail of its work.

It occurred to me recently, however, that if someone were to ask me the same question today, I would say Chipotle.