Christmas last year, BERLIN LOVES YOU celebrated 2016 with Polish Thursday Dinners at the Markthalle Moabit, where we were treated to a deliciously festive 5-course meal. Polish Thursday Dinners is – of course – the creation of the irrepressible Julia Bosski. We caught up with the dame behind the dining for a quick chat about her “Polish fusion” cuisine and plans for world fame (and domination).
This month’s meal takes place on Thursday, February 23rd, once again at Markthalle Moabit. Don’t miss this excellent dining experience!
1. Why did you start the Polish Thursday Dinners series?
I started Polish Thursday Dinners as a cultural concept to promote Polish culture and gather people from around the world, who come from very different fields and career paths, to sit together at my table while eating “fusion Polish” food, and through the food I wanted to arouse an interest in Polish culture in them.
I come from Warsaw. Six years ago, when I was 19, I moved to Berlin. I felt suffocated and limited in Poland. I was very negative about my country. With distance, and time, I changed my thinking and converted my negative feelings into a need for supporting culture history and positive aspects of being Polish.
I myself come from highly intellectual family, with some pretty famous members, such as Jeremi Przybora from Kabaret Starszych Panów, for instance, who is my great grand father. I thought: why not show here, abroad, all the good things about Poland, and fight the clichés that Poles are struggling with forever? In last three years it became my mission to share my passion for culture and people and promote Poland. Everyone knows bad things about Poland – it’s time to show our strengths and talent.
2. How did you come up with the concept?
I started organizing dinner parties four years ago, while still with my ex-boyfriend Hannes (who got me into it). In Autumn 2012, I went for the first time to a dinner at a beautiful place in Kreuzberg. It felt very intimate and special, there was a very long table where about 30 people sat, ate and drank.
Everyone looked cool and you could feel the hot vibe of being a hip Berliner. I found out about it through some friends and wanted to explore it. This is also how I met my ex and got completely charmed by the idea of hosting supper clubs.
Shortly after we started being together, I took over the project and was organizing a different dinner every week, and I did this for about six months, each time with a different cook, with live music acts or DJs, accompanied by art exhibitions or movie screenings. The big advantage was that we had a venue with a small, cute kitchen. But by that time I was being only a manager and rarely cooked myself.
I stopped the project after a few months and started university, but I missed the atmosphere pretty soon after I stopped. I also started missing my Polish culture and food (after three years in Berlin). So I came up with an idea to make my own supper club with my best friend Don, who is originally from Warsaw but grew up in Berlin. He was the head chef of the project.
We wanted to create an exclusive atmosphere for about 10-15 guests, cook Polish food, serve real Polish vodka and homemade liqueurs and, through these events, show and present some of our Polish roots and backgrounds. We were offering dishes composed of ingredients made by our grannies and offered Donald’s father’s homemade high-quality liqueurs. A part of the concept was to change the location every time we did the dinner, and we wanted to cooperate with cultural locations so we not only provided food but also art or other kind of entertainment.
3. What are the preconceptions about Polish food in Germany? And if you intend to challenge them, how?
My idea is to not change people’s mind about Polish food, but about Poland as a whole. Food is the easiest way to make people pay attention to anything. Like alcohol, everyone will come to your event, no matter what you will present there, if you offer free drinks. If you get fully booked for a dinner that cost 40 euro, and its theme is POLAND and your guests come from Brazil to Berlin to eat Polish food, it’s a sign of success.
I invented “Polish fusion” or “new Polish” to stop people from connecting Poland with pierogis and vodka. I started creating new dishes that were based on traditional recipes but I added a “Bosski twist” into it and made them fresh. It’s all about good PR. Redzepi from Noma was also bored of Nordic kottbular and herring. He’s brilliant and creative, and with his innovative thinking he made Danish cuisine famous through serving amazing food.
4. What is your favourite Polish dish?
I love summer in Poland. Polish fruits and veggies. Here in Germany no fruit or veg tastes of anything really. When I visit Warsaw in summer I throw my own little party and buy everything I feel like. Raspberries, blueberries, sweet cherries, strawberries, wild strawberries (I never found them in Germany), broad beans, cottage cheese. I love chlodnik – a traditional cold beetroot soup, based on buttermilk, pierogis with chanterelles – actually everything with chanterelles! And of course “drożdżówki”- sweet, buttery, yeast buns with cheese and crumble, I guess I could write a poem on them.
What’s most ironic about myself that I don’t really like either herring or vodka which became my key products during dinners. Maybe that’s why I started serving herring in a new way- with lime, honey, chilli or honey, cinnamon, raisins and nuts – so I can eat it myself. The same with vodka – I created a drink called “sex on the grass”, composed of Poland’s most famous vodka Żubrówka (Grassovka), tonic water and rosemary.
5. What has been the most satisfying aspect of this project so far?
I’m a very satisfied girl at the moment. My hard work started paying off. I got even more attention that I expected. I’ve been asked to cooperate with all the most important Polish and international institutions in Berlin, once I was even called by the Senatkanzlerin herself! I’m being interviewed by the biggest radio stations and magazines in Germany and Poland, TV wants to show me. I have become a specialist for Polish culture, which is the right role for me. I was talking on Flux FM about how I feel as a European. I’m an activist for women’s rights. I’m a woman-power supporter and representative.
Because of my “supper club” I can spread my wings and show who I really am, and my opinion is being taken seriously. People rarely think of me as a jazz singer (which is actually my biggest passion) and I’d love to sing more. Thanks to PTD, I get more and more attention paid to my music. I dislike being called a “chef”, because this is the minor job role for me. I started cooking from passion but also from necessity while my first chef left for Warsaw. Since then, I got more and more contacts and I prefer to step back from the kitchen and give this job to real professionals. I’m proud and happy that I can work with best chefs in Berlin, who’ve been working in best restaurants in the world.
I want to promote great chefs through inviting them to cook with me. It’s always fun to make all kinds of fusions from South African-Polish through to Danish- or French-Polish. I plan to bring the most famous chefs from Poland and “show” them here in Berlin. These guys are crazy. They are food gods, and no one knows about them abroad!
Besides all these beautiful career achievements, most of all, I’m the happiest girl because through all these parties I’ve already thrown (which is probably already more than 100 in past three years), I’ve met a few most wonderful people. They came as strangers and became very important parts of my life.
6. What plans do you have for the future?
I’m happy in Berlin as things go well, but I’ve been thinking of moving further. Since I was a kid I wanted to be a world famous girl and this is still my plan. I also think I need to get some new, fresh energy and spread my energy to a new place.
Berlin was a great parent to me, gave me lots of love and also taught me lots of discipline. I got to know “real, adult life” here. Now I’m 25 and feel a bit like it’s time to leave my “mom’s house”. My next goal is London but I don’t want to spoil anything. Wish me luck, I have plenty of plans!