Photo by Tara Stevens
You order,’ I say to Adam Colyer, co-founder of the NGO Cultura a la Carta and director of the festival DJs Contra La Fam, when we meet for lunch at La Tomaquera in Poble Sec.
So he does. Artichokes, snails, parrillada de carne, and an ambulance, please. It doesn’t take me long to figure out why we might need an ambulance—sensational artichokes bursting with lemony, garlicky juices, snails bathed in rich and silky tomato and morcilla sauce, juicy meats and mountains of it—but today’s topic is rather more humbling. It’s about the great divide; those of us who have enough to eat and those of us who don’t.
How did Cultura a la Carta come about?
It grew out of three things. Firstly, we did DJs Contra la Fam (DJs Against Hunger), now in its sixth year which supports the renovation of 22 soup kitchens in Barcelona. Then we started working with PACAS (Programa de Actividades Culturales de Acción Social) which provides creative workshops like photography, music production, and video making for kids in danger of social exclusion. And we’ve just launched Con Mucho Gusto, which brings chefs into the mix.
Tell me about it?
Con Mucho Gusto involves 10 Michelin-starred chefs who are allocated 10 different soup kitchens around Spain. The aim is to develop five menus together with a nutritionist and within the kitchen’s usual budget. It is not to discredit what they are already doing, but to improve it. We’re most definitely not of the school where the rice has to be organic, but we do believe everyone has the right to eat tasty, nutritious food. Long term we want to publish a book with the proceeds going straight back into the soup kitchens. But right now, we need to build awareness that just around the corner, people are going hungry. We need funding and public support.
Why did you choose La Tomaquera for lunch?
Because the food is simple yet spectacular. Plus you told me you were squeamish about snails so it was a challenge. I think these are the best in town, don’t you agree? How can I not?
To find out how you can get involved or contribute to any of Cultura a la Carta’s projects go to culturaalacarta.es
Adam also recommends: Xemei (Passeig de l’Exposició 85. Tel. 93 553 5140). It’s the best Italian (Venetian) food in town. A little pricey, but well worth it, especially the spaghetti nero di seppia.
Margarit 58, Poble Sec
Tue-Sat 1.30pm-3.45pm, 8.30pm-10.45pm. Closed Sun & Mon. No reservations. No credit cards