Actor Sien Vanmaele lets spectators cook at Zomer Van Antwerpen: “The salty taste of seaweed is surprisingly tasty” (Antwerp)

The fact that Sien Vanmaele loves acting and cooking is also reflected in her work on stage. Four years ago, the Antwerp girl appeared during the Summer of Antwerp Chicory from Syria inspired by dishes and conversations from Syrian cuisine. In the Cortina town hall in Borgerhout, she and Laika serve the public seaweed from June 29 to August 7. “Most people think it’s surprisingly tasty because of the salty taste,” says the actress, who is herself from the ocean coming.

Fear is not a good advisor, but it still is sea ​​meal born of fear: climate fear. How?

See Vanmaele: “Global warming has long since ceased to be a show far from my bed. From my interest in cooking, I discovered that food production is responsible for a significant portion of CO2 emissions. What are the problems in the food industry and what is the food of the future? “After two years of research, I became aware of the power of seaweed and saltwater plants. These thrive on a saline soil, with almost no fresh water. You also do not have to sacrifice scarce agricultural land to grow seaweed.”

So should we all sit on the pliers?

“Growing lots of seaweed just like that is not good for the ecosystem either. Seaweed has many benefits for our health. Since it has not been grown, it contains a bomb of minerals, fiber and protein. Seaweed is still so pure that it can be a huge addition, especially in a vegetarian diet. It has great potential, and not just in the kitchen. Seaweed is added to animal feed and used in insulation material, but also in paint. Researchers point out that it is very difficult to get western people to eat seaweed. Because there is so little demand for it, it is still very expensive today. ”

The show lets people taste all kinds of algae and saltwater plants. Do they like it?

“A lot of people like it because of the salty taste. At first I found it very difficult to cook with these ingredients. You need to dry some seaweed, another variety is better to stew or deep fry. If I do not know how to do it right away, I put the algae on vodka or on vinegar (laughs)† I found almost no recipes in the beginning except in oriental cookbooks. In Asia, seaweed has been boiled for centuries. Europeans do not have that habit. That’s why I wanted to sea ​​meal processing of seaweed and salty plants in dishes from the Western cuisine. By letting the public cook with it in a customized setting, they can also feel, smell and taste the products to the fullest. ”

Of land meal and air meal two more productions on sustainable food are in the pipeline. Did you think your research would lead that far?

“If you want to save the world from your kitchen, you need to know where the food you put in your mouth comes from. How does a plant feel and how does it grow best? A properly grown plant is the most delicious. No wonder many chefs have their own kitchen garden. In my search for sustainable food, I also came across mushrooms and urban farming, of which more in land mealair meal considering eating insects, seed production and fermentation. “

Many Instagram shots will be the dishes sea ​​meal do not give in. At the start of the show, smartphones are locked and locked.

“I know how tempting it is to take pictures of beautiful dishes, but in sea ​​meal the laws of the theater prevail. I can not wait with my story, as before with rehearsals, because people take pictures. Therefore, the audience is allowed to take one picture at the beginning of the performance, after which the phone disappears into a coffee can. As an experience, the theater will encourage people to be in the now again. This is also necessary to be able to taste good. If you look closely, taste or touch something, it sticks much more. No photo can compete with that. ”

sea ​​meal, from June 29 to August 7, town hall Cortina, Borgerhout. Tickets: www.zva.be. More info and other tour dates: www.laika.be

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