Empowered women empower women. Fact.
We are constantly inspired by the level of female talent in the food industry, globally. As a predominantly female company we feel lucky to be working in an age whereby this is becoming more recognised and, more importantly, nurtured.
In our experience, the women we know in spite of their insanely busy schedules always make time and are kind enough to share with us their knowledge and support. Personally, I know I wouldn’t be the chef I am today without Alix. As my friend and mentor, she has taught me never to stop learning, to embrace my creativity and whenever I feel demotivated I only need to look in her direction to know that with enough drive and hard work, anything is possible.
As is the chain reaction, listening to an episode of our favourite podcast, Radio Cherry Bombe (a celebration of women and food) chatting to Hot Bread Kitchen, a culinary teaching program that empowers immigrant women based in New York, we were inspired to research whether there were any similar ventures happening here in the UK.
To our delight, we found Mazi Mas, a social enterprise and catering company that trains migrant and refugee women in hospitality. Emails were exchanged, and before we knew it the Caiger & Co/Mazi Mas collab was born.
We decided to put on a pop up for two nights at our sister site Kultured in Soho, working alongside each other for a meal spanning the corners of the globe. Mazi Mas took the lead with the menu and we designed seasonally British dishes to compliment their flavours.
On the menu; brown buttered radishes were peppered with sumac and miso savoury granola whilst griddled purple sprouting broccoli was dressed with a punchy anchovy and preserved lemon dressing. Chocolate bark was given the spice treatment with Aleppo chilli flakes and caramelised sourdough whilst the traditional chocolate cookie was transformed into a zesty lemon, basil and pistachio number.
Mazi Mas blew our mind with their insane dessert from Costa Rica, Prestinos. Imagine a half-way house between a doughnut and flatbread, deep fried then brushed with a fragrant orange and cinnamon syrup then topped with ethereally smooth frozen custard and caramelised oranges. Hungry right?
Other delights included the Persian Kuku Sabzi, a frittata canape completely green with herbs, light in texture, studded with barberries and broad beans. Served with a shallot yogurt, it was fresh, intriguing and as egg dishes often are extremely comforting.
Perhaps most impressive though was the rice. Its bonkers that something so simple can flaw you with its impeccable execution. Each grain was light, fluffy and fragrant, holding its individual shape. Then at the bottom of the pan, the best bit – a crispy Tah Dig aka ‘scorched rice’. If you’ve never eaten it before it is a game changer, a fused crust of rice, nutty, crunchy and absolutely outrageous dipped in herby yogurt.
The kitchen was a joy to work in, unbelievably calm and full of care every woman united in their love of food. Shy at first, then with the realisation of this common purpose, full of joy and laughter. As a diner, there was a real sense of being fed rather than catered for.
It was a triumph and proof that collaboration really is queen.