Lonely Planet Writer

Give peas a chance - a pop-up restaurant in London wants people to eat their way to peace

A pop-up restaurant dedicated to waging ‘peace through food’ will open on London’s South Bank this week. Conflict Cafe, hosted by charity International Alert will provide diners with brunch or dinner featuring food from Lebanon and Sri Lanka.

Conflict Cafe opens on London's South Bank.
Conflict Cafe opens on London’s South Bank. Image by Press Association

During the meal, held in the House Of Vans underground hall, attendees will hear about the issues faced by the country their meal has originated from and be encouraged to share their own stories and ideas with other diners. The events form part of the annual Talking Peace Festival which surrounds the UN International Day Of Peace on 21 September.

A loaf of bread (Matthew Mead/AP)
                                                                            

Organisers want diners to experience the unique effect food can have on conflict resolution. The idea is that by breaking bread with a person, we are more likely to be receptive to their ideas and develop a common understanding. Rebecca Crozier, International Alert’s head of emerging programmes, said: “Across different cultures and continents, food has the power to bring people together and encourage the act of sharing. In some Middle Eastern countries, it is custom for the perpetrator of a crime to cook a meal for the victim and their family as a way of fixing broken bonds. In Europe, too, we find ways of using food to calm domestic storms, to unite communities and bring neighbourhoods together. We hope that Conflict Cafe will give diners a glimpse into the diverse cuisines and complex histories of some of the countries where we work, highlighting the positive role that food can play in peace-building.”

The Conflict Café will run from September 22 – October 2. Tickets are £35 for dinner, £20 for brunch.

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