Humans of GZG

One year ago, I moved from Modena, Italy, to Rotterdam. My friend is Dutch and after two years in Italy we wanted to start a new adventure. It took some getting used to in Rotterdam. I was especially reluctant to live in a city, since I grew up in a rural environment. I now appreciate the city very much and I have managed to also retain some connection with rural life via my work atĀ Op Het Dak, a restaurant within an rooftop vegetable garden on the Schieblok.

From my Italian background, it won’t surprise anyone that I love cooking, and I am generally interested in food cultures. It is certainly not the case that every Italian can cook well, but we do grow up with it, more than I think here. But that does not alter the fact that I can still learn a lot.

I started at Groenten Zonder Grenzen at the start of 2019. I searched online for vegan initiatives, and for a way to get local vegetables. That’s how I came across GZG. I called them and have been cooking almost every week since then. It is a nice chaos in the kitchen, which reminded me a bit of Italy..

The first time cooking is still a nice memory. We were four people and we heard that we had three hours to cook food for 45 guests. I thought “that is never going to work”. But in the end we had so much food! We even had surplus. That was a magical moment for me. Not only because of the quantity, but also the quality and how it was created.

At GZG we do not cook dishes that we already know or based on recipes, you are forced to be creative with the products that are available to you. I think that is a great challenge and I learn a lot from that. I learned from others how I make bread pudding from stale bread, or how to prepare curries, delicious vegan dishes that I now also cook at home.