Terroir Talks: Food as a commodity

The actual way we should be doing things is the way we’ve always done things, it’s just that now we call it ‘artisanal’. All we mean by that is ‘not industrial’.
— Candide Schokoladen
It’s very easy to see the bio/Fair Trade stamp and think you’re buying the right thing. But there’s so much more to sustainability than this. Direct trade is far more powerful.
— Henrietta Lovell, Rare Tea Company

Corn, soybeans, wheat, tea, rice, chocolate, coffee, sugar, milk, orange juice - these are just a few of the food items currently traded on the global agricultural market.

The challenge we face when we contract the products we like to a financial machine is that we create a dependency on large scale mono-culture production. This keeps producers handcuffed to a model that's globally driven and full of fragile trade agreements. Leading to little concern for environmental or social impacts - leading to corruption, fraud and the mistreatment of workers.

But there are companies stepping outside this market to offer traditional commodity products based on ethical models of production. As our Autumn Berlin Terroir Talks pick back up, we’ll be kicking off our events with a discussion about exactly this, uniting a panel of experts to discuss the importance of preserving internationally-traded products such a wine, coffee, chocolate and tea and whilst building a better model for our future.


Monday October 7th, hosted at HERMANN’S, Berlin

Christopher O'Connor & Daniel Budde, Candide Schokoladen, Berlin

Roberto Bava, Aperitivo Cocchi Americano, Piedmont

Henrietta Lovell, Rare Tea Company, London

Richard Hart, Hart Bageri, Copenhagen

I’ve been to the field, I’ve met the farmer, I know the wheat, I know the grain. I asked where the meat came from and they didn’t know - so I bought my own pigs.
— Richard Hart, Hart Bageri
I come from a small village in the middle of the world. It’s in Piedmont and we have some of the best natural resources in the world including hazelnuts, grapes, truffles & more.
— Roberto Bava, Aperitivo Cocchi Americano,

Terroir Talks: Leadership, collaboration & community

Tell your consumer who your producer is
— Friederike Gaedke, die Gemeinschaft
Every collaboration I’ve done has enriched me and my cooking
— Flavia Borawska, Opasly Tom

As part of Terrior Berlin 2019's activities we invited Terroir’s Berlin community to follow an examination of industry leadership, community & collaboration by uniting shared stakeholders in the city’s food value chain as well as international chefs to share their stories on successful and unsuccessful partnerships to create a better support network for all our food futures.


Wednesday, 12th June 2019 hosted at The FvF Friends Space, Berlin


Alicia Bravo, ManuTeeFaktur

Friederike Gaedke, die Gemeinschaft

Per Meurling, Berlin Food Stories

Chef's panel:

Frida Ronge, Tak, Stockholm

Maksut Askar, neolokal, Istanbul

Flavia Borawska, Opasły Tom, Warsaw

Roderick Sloan, Arctic Caviar, Norway

Dalad Kambhu, Kin Dee, Berlin

Alan Micks, Michelberger Hotel, Berlin

It’s important that I know my chefs: I make the gunpowder, they make the fireworks
— Roddie Sloan, Arctic Fisherman
You have to work at collaboration with your staff, producers, prices and the culture
— Dalad Kambhu, Kin Dee

Terroir Talks: Food & identity

Food is the one thing that you don’t loose in your travels or migration
— Anissa Helou
It’s an emotional memory to food - it takes you back
— Sun Mee Martin

Through migration and trade our foodstuffs evolve to reflect ever changing societies - their power, their conflicts, their natural environment and the love within them. More than anything, the food we eat represents interconnected relationships which transcend national borders.

For this Terroir discussion Arlene united a group of guest speakers from diverse cultural backgrounds in conversation about how the food they eat is a reflection of their identities.


Monday, 1st April 2019 hosted at HERMANN’S, Berlin

- Anissa Helou, Chef & author of Feast: The Food of the Islamic World
- Kavita Meelu, Consultant, curator & community organiser
- Sun Mee Martin, Culinary experience designer & founder of Numaru
- Liv Fleischhacker, Food & drinks writer & co-creator of Nosh Berlin

Most of us here are privileged enough to make a choice about how we identify with food - others are not
— Liv Fleischhacker
In consuming food we get something from the process - we should all be doing better at not just escaping through the taste
— Kavita Goodstar

Terroir Talks: Food & farming

To get people into farming is to make it attractive.
— David Peacock, Erdhof Seewalde
We can change the food system by creating a collective movement.
— Friederike Gaedke, Die Gemeinschaft

Wendel Barry famously said: “Eating is an agricultural act”. It's a statement which empowers the consumer because it means every single person can influence the food system simply through their buying choices.

The food industry has the most impact, buying power and responsibility to ensure we are advocating for strong, sustainable food systems and with this comes the duty to support the farms, farmers and producers who provide materials at the heart of everything we do.

Supporting your local farming ecosystem means you are promoting good food practices for many generations to come and it all starts with strong local advocates who connect, share resources, enable financial stability and promote the local economy. For this edition of Terroir Talks Arlene met with local advocates and farmers to reinforce this important and powerful relationship between the farmer and chef because food, lest we forget, begins in a field.


Monday, 4th March 2019 hosted at HERMANN’S, Berlin

Friederike Gaedke, Die Gemeinschaft
Chelsea van Hooven, Die Neue Deutsche Kelle Manifesto
David Peacock, Erdhof Seewalde
Jannik Schmitz, Mrs. Robinsons

Photos: Max Vaupel

If I place a high value on a product then I need to develop a relationship which allows the farmer to make a living.
— Jannik Schmitz, Mrs. Robinsons
A chef and restaurant can only create a great dish if they have great produce so the chef/famrer relationship is crucial.
— Chelsea van Hooven, Die Neue Deutsche Kelle Manifesto

Terroir Talks: Ethical eating

If you leave the door open, there’s going to be a draught. It’s as simple as that.
— Trevor Gulliver, St JOHN
We eat like grasshoppers, going from one trend to another before it runs out. We need to change.
— Laura Jaspers, HERMANN'S

Ethical eating is at the cornerstone of contemporary dining. But what does that mean? And how do we create exceptional experiences which also accommodate guests?

Supporting local farmers and producers, promoting terroir-driven ingredients, eating "nose to tail", practising circular economies, eating sustainably, plant-based diets etc etc etc. How can we create the restaurant of the future whilst also considering ethics, diners and deliciousness? What is our responsibility as an industry in accommodating contemporary dinners and helping to save the planet?

Terroir founder, Arlene Stein, hosted three of Berlin's most sustainbly-focused activists alongside two internationally acclaimed restaurateurs in a discussion focused on the planet’s food futures.


Monday, 21st January 2019 hosted at HERMANN’S, Berlin

Trevor Gulliver, CEO and Co-Founder, St. JOHN, London
Laura Jaspers, Co-Founder, HERMANN'S, Berlin
Sophia Hoffmann, Chef, Author & Food Activist, Berlin
Jonathan Gushue, Executive Chef, Fogo Island Inn, Canada
Peter Duran, Owner, Isla Coffee Berlin

Photos: Sonni Frej Photography

Zero waste is a cool idea but it’s very difficult to sustain.
— Peter Duran, Isla Coffee
I’m trying to put out information that helps people make better decisions.
— Sophia Hoffmann, Chef & Author
With moving the system forwards you have to look around you and start with what’s there.
— Jonathan Gushue, Fogo Island Inn

Terroir Talks: Where are restaurants heading?

The “local-vore” trend is going to go away. What’s even local to places like London or Berlin?
— Joe Warwick, The World Restaurant Awards
Food artists use atmosphere and artistry to connect with people for unforgettable experiences that last a lifetime.
— Kristin Rieve, RSVP Yes

What's shaking things up in the restaurant world right now? What are the newest concepts, events, trends, themes, growth areas and glittering futures making waves across the international dining community? Arlene asked our Terroir Talk panellists exactly these questions, bringing bloggers, journalists and entrepreneurs together for a discussion about the most dynamic developments in the global restaurant industry, happening right now.


Monday, November 26th 2018 hosted at HERMANN’S, Berlin

Joe Warwick, Author of Where Chefs Eat and founder of the World Restaurant Awards
Olga Badowska, Co-founder of Mlask 
Kristin Rieve, RSVP Yes

Photos: Sonni Frej Photography

This is on all of us. We need to talk about how to feed people properly. We share this information on Google but we need to share with each other.
— Olga Badowska, Food Writer

Terroir Talks: Restaurants and the media 

“Our second Michelin star brought a 25% revenue increase, and since entering the World’s 50 Best List and appearing on Chef’s Table every seat in the restaurant is now fully booked.”
— Tim Raue, Restaurant Tim Raue
“Once you have your business ethos, at the end of the day, the media is a marketing tool. People who want to come to your restaurant REALLY want to come.”
— Billy Wagner, Nobelhart & Schmutzig

Restaurants and the media have a relationship built on consumer trust. Increasingly though, its a relationship that's leveraged in complex ways. The media brings awareness to the newest, most interesting and very best restaurants the industry has to offer - driving business and stature. But the advent of online media and cutbacks in traditional press mean it’s an industry that’s also rushing to redefine itself as unconventional methods of PR and marketing permeate through digitally native outlets. 

Terroir founder, Arlene Stein, hosted two of Berlin's very best restaurateurs alongside two internationally acclaimed journalists in a discussion focused on the present, future and longevity of the complex media and restaurant relationship.


Monday, October 26th 2018 hosted at HERMANN’S, Berlin

Tim Raue, Restaurant Tim Raue
Billy Wagner, Nobelhart & Schmutzig 
Lorraine Haist, Journalist
Mattias Kroon, Food writer

Photos: Sonni Frej Photography

“The difference is, the food industry doesn’t really have the same budgets as luxury brands in, say, the motor or fashion industries.”
— Mattias Kroon, Food Writer
I remember asking colleagues whether I could really publish a title that said “Will this restaurant change the future of the German culinary scene?””
— Lorraine Haist, Journalist