Eat, meet, live and learn. Sharing stories for everyday food and health.

Meet Foodadit – Kasia Zacharko

  • Kasia Zacharko Foodadit Photographer
On 19th July 2015

Kasia Zacharko has a way of breathing fun into any situation. Kasia approaches the photography she does for Foodadit just as she would one of her vegan fusion pop up dinners. For her, it’s all about using food as a way to bring people together and capturing those special moments of connection whilst laughing a lot in the process.

Alanna
How did you start making pop up dinners in Berlin?

Kasia
I’ve always liked cooking with my family and friends and when I moved to Berlin, I started going to different pop up dinners, it was then that I really started getting into Korean food. My first experience of cooking a pop up dinner was in Poland when I helped a friend of mine. It was so successful that once I was back in Berlin, I just walked out of my apartment block one morning and went to nearest bar and I found myself just asking them – and two weeks later I made my first pop up dinner in Berlin.

Alanna
Where does your inspiration for cooking come from?

Kasia
Well, I would be making the Bibimbap and I’d find myself thinking that it was the best dish ever but I realised that although my Mum is Korean, I didn’t know that much about Korean food. I knew some dishes from the ones that she made at home, but I thought that I could do something cool because I’m half Korean, half Polish and my Mum was born in East Uzbekistan and so I just became more and more interested.

Alanna
What was first on the menu?

Kasia
The first pop up I made was vegan, gluten-free Polish food. It was a challenge because Polish food isn’t well known for being vegan or vegetarian – it’s all about meat and gluten. Although I’m not vegan myself, I don’t tend to enjoy cooking meat so inventing alternatives was so much fun.

The next dinner I made was Korean and the following was Polish-Korean Fusion and then after that I did one called Korean-Saram, which is a fusion of Korean, Russian and Kazakhstani influences so there’s a whole mixture of tastes. I was using typical Korean flavours such as chili and garlic and as a twist I’d find myself making Bibimbap with cumin. It’s great to be mixing so many things together and still being authentic.

Alanna
How regularly do you do you pop up dinners?

Kasia
So far, I’ve done over fifteen pop ups and I was most active in the winter and sometimes I had more than seventy people to serve.

Alanna
How do you approach nutrition for yourself?

Kasia
As I mentioned, I don’t really like cooking meat and I actually feel very good if I eat a lot of vegetables, though I find I can’t be completely vegetarian with my thyroid. I like trying out what works for me and being very intuitive. I notice that if I eat bread or gluten I don’t feel as good. I like it so much though, so I just try to eat very little to take care.

To be honest, nutrition’s not a lifestyle for me because I don’t plan meals in advance and although I am interested in food, I don’t cook everyday.

Alanna
Have you learnt anything through your dinners?

Kasia
Oh definitely! I became more aware of the impact of food on your body when I started experimenting with my cooking. Through the dinners I’ve discovered so many people with different food approaches. When I’m organising a dinner there are always people writing to me to ask me if it’s suitable for a person who follows a paleo diet or there are a lot of gluten free requests.

Alanna
What is the most rewarding aspect of making your pop up dinners?

Kasia
It’s experimenting! I really love the process of coming up with an idea for a dish, I really love it!

I love putting really weird elements together and seeing if it works and if it does, I think, ‘wow, I’m a genius!’

I love bringing people together and seeing what they like – I love the instant feedback that you can get from that. Everybody likes food and has something to say about it. If they really like it they will tell you. It’s just this pure, simple joy of life!

Article by Alanna Lawley
Pictures by Kasia Zacharko

With
Kasia Zacharko Website kasiazacharko.com

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