Open Kitchen enables newcomers of all backgrounds- as well as locals- to interact, socialise and share recipes through a number of cooking projects. We see cooking and food as an exceptional platform to break down barriers and get to know people and their culture.
We meet weekly to cook recipes from all over the world and connect with each other. We create a friendly atmosphere where we open up to each other and listen to one another's stories. It is a place where we find mutual understanding, solidarity and lots of fun!
The Open Kitchen is a group centred around cooking that gives newcomers, refugees and locals the opportunity to interact and break down social and cultural barriers through preparing and enjoying meals together. Regardless of how long they have been living in Berlin, everyone is welcome to join.
The Open Kitchen takes people out of isolation and gives to each participant a chance to get to know new people through a relaxed but purposeful activity. The idea is simple: newcomers meet up with other Berliners to cook, eat, share and hang out. Our volunteer group, which is composed of professional and amateur cooks, as well as those with no particular cooking experience, meets regularly to experience tasty recipes from all over the world.
What is the Open Kitchen about?
Open Kitchen aims to break down social and cultural barriers over food and create home-like spaces for people who seek interaction in a cosy environment. For those who are already established in Berlin, it can be a place to interact with people from other cultures and exchange ideas in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. The project is a great opportunity for cooks with refugee/migrant backgrounds to lead the kitchen together with a team of volunteers and other food enthusiasts. This way they can reach a wide audience and get a feel for the gastronomy industry in Berlin. Since our start in 2013, we have cooked together and enjoyed traditional dishes from Sudan, America, Syria, India and many other places all over the world. The response has been so positive that our group has been invited, on multiple occasions, to serve food at different venues in the city like Bite Club, United Street Food at Markthalle Neun and even provided catering services for the Berliner Philharmonie.
Originally called the Refugee Cooking Group, the project was a close and joint effort with Berlin’s refugee community. The cooking group goes back to very humble beginnings on Oranienplatz. This Kreuzberg square was occupied by demonstrators in 2013 to draw attention to the appalling living conditions forced on refugees all over Germany, at a time when this was hardly discussed in the media. Berliners from all over met up at the square every week to cook in the tents and break down the walls created by terms like ‘refugee’. Since then the group cooked at the Gerhart Hauptmann Schule – the site of refugee rights protests in 2014 – as well as in Görlitzer Park and at the Martha Gemeinde Church. The weekly cooking sessions moved to creative co-working space Blogfabrik in 2015, just down the road from where it all began at Oranienplatz. Since the summer of 2017, the Open Kitchen has been organising regular meet-ups and other events at Refugio enjoying the shared community life and the beautiful rooftop view from the building.
Open Kitchen activities
The Open Kitchen offers social cooking sessions in the form of a meet-up on a regular, weekly basis. Additionally, the group joins forces with other GSBTB projects when cooking can be included as an activity. The Open Kitchen also takes part in various public events and interacts with different social circles in Berlin.
Time and location of activities
Open Kitchen takes place every Wednesday from 17:00 to 21:00 at Refugio in the heart of Neukölln. See our Events page. No need to sign up, simply arrive at the time that works for you (food will be ready around 19:30). Everything is of course free of charge.
If the weather allows, the outdoor spaces are used for BBQ, otherwise participants gather in the beautiful pavilion on Refugio’s roof, to prepare soups and waffles.
Get involved with the Open Kitchen!
Join our cooking group!
We meet every week and would be happy to have you join us! No prior cooking skills are required. We enjoy each other’s company and love sharing our stories and experiences when we meet. Participation in our cooking group and eating with us is free of charge. We would appreciate your company.
Co-host an Open Kitchen cooking session!
We always want to connect with friendly, passionate and patient people who would like to create a homey environment with us. You may offer space for your group where we can come and cook together. Otherwise, if you are a chef and want to share a kitchen with us to prepare delicious meals we can invite you to cook for our community.
Sponsor a dinner!
We make our cooking sessions free for everyone and we are limited only by the expenses for food, kitchen utensils, and sometimes for space and transport. We appreciate all donations, big and small and you can choose a one-time donation or set up regular monthly or yearly contributions. You can donate by following the instructions on this page.
Donate food ingredients and cooking utensils!
Our cooking group shops regularly to make sure we have fresh ingredients. If you have fresh ingredients to give away, they can be a great contribution for our cooking sessions. We also need good quality utensils that we can use for cooking for big groups. You can send/drop off donations to Give Something Back to Berlin e.V. office address: Lenaustrasse 4, 12047 Berlin
The Open Kitchen looks forward to hearing from you! For inquiries please contact Ricarda Bochat at firstname.lastname@example.org