This past Wednesday saw the opening of a new café in Prague’s Anděl district. A breezy modern space decorated with the sort of retro kitsch that has become the calling card of any stylish eatery in the Czech capital, Jídelna Kuchařek bez domova could be just another trendy Smíchov bistro.
Except it’s not.
The café, whose name translates to Cooks Without a Home, employs women in social distress who cook and serve its healthy vegan fare.
According to a release from Jako Doma, the organization behind the project’s inception, staffers “like cooking and want to share their culinary skills with others and break the barriers between the public and the homeless.”
Another striking departure from the usual Prague café is the price: here the food is not just healthy, using seasonal local ingredients and vegetables that stores won’t sell due to appearance, but affordable.
“Compared to conventional restaurants and cafés we offer food at a price that is accessible to people who cannot afford to visit the usual restaurants, especially those focused on healthy cuisine,” says Eva Kundrátová, one of the participating chefs.
Those prices include daily lunches for 75 CZK or soup with bread for 30 CZK. Menu items like carrot soup with ginger, peppers and peas with rice, savory strudel with sauerkraut, potato salad with tofu, and gingerbread are made fresh in limited quantities each day.
Plates and dishes are donated and the interior of the dining room is made entirely of upcycled materials from local design studio MARS and features a “cook’s wall” where stories, messages from and wishes to the homeless women working in the dining room can be posted.
“In addition to offering food and other refreshments in the cafeteria we plan to have screenings, lectures, and discussions on various social issues. We [want to create] a place where local people can eat healthily and at an affordable price and also can learn more about the issue of homelessness,” adds Lenka Vrbová of Jako doma.
Supported by an EU grant, the projects aims to help women without permanent housing rebound and return to normal life.
Jídelna Kuchařek bez domova is open Mon-Fri, 11:30AM-7:00PM.
All photos are courtesy of Petr Zewlakk Vrabec via Facebook.