MARIANNA LEIVADITAKI - MORITO HACKNEY ROAD HEAD CHEF
It’s been 7 weeks, and we are still at home rather than in our bustling restaurant kitchens trying to orchestrate a smooth service and cook delicious food while keeping our cool.
It has, without a doubt, been a bumpy ride with a lot to keep our minds on. Some days are calm and serene, some days are busy and hectic, and there are days of enjoyment and appreciation. It is these days, of enjoyment and appreciation that have been the most important ones for me during this time. It has been a time where we have had to turn inwards and focus on things that we often take for granted and allow them to simply become invisible during our busy daily lives.
Spending time at home and making it a better place, showing unconditional love to my family, devoting the biggest part of the day in the kitchen and cherishing my daily walks have made me feel very lucky these days. I feel I actually have the time to enjoy nature and observe it as a chef.
Daily adventures in woods or simply by the canal, I find myself playing “I spy” in my constant search for nature’s edibles. Where there are no edibles, there is the unstoppable beauty of the never-ending trees in full blossom. I finally feel like an active participant in the connection we have with our surroundings.
I have never made so many wild garlic and nettle pies as I have these weeks. I have never followed the flowering of elderflower trees so closely or smelled so many rose bushes to find the best one for drying. I have never planted so many seedlings in my garden and never made so many things for my family from scratch. From looking after my sourdough starter and hanging homemade yoghurt to making granola for my baby son and hanging overripe avocados on the tree for the birds to simply opening the windows in the morning and allowing the warmth of the sun and the songs of the birds to enter and wake us all up.
Even though these times are far from positive, it is important to take a moment and realise what actually matters; good health, people to love and love us back and the ability to do what we love every day.
For our love of cooking, hopefully, we will return to our kitchens soon bringing new positives and sharing them with all sitting around our table.