Social dining startup Foodisch wants to reinvent the circle. It’s here to bring people around the same table who normally wouldn’t meet. It’s the friendly pin in our social bubbles.
At the heart of this idea are some old truths about how dining has the power to drive us apart – or bring us together.
How to make people feel small
Since forever, humans have divided society into who’s important and who’s excluded. If you want to see how we do this, look no further than how we eat.
At Foodisch, they believe you should find someone to eat with before you find something to eat
The Ancient Greeks gave us the word ‘democracy’, but also ‘misogyny’: their dining room was called andron because it was only for men. They’d line the walls with sofas, reclining to dine, the ultimate luxury. The Romans were master architects, including in the social sense: their ‘status seating’ arrangements ensured that honoured guests still knew their place.
The Vikings ate in longhouses. If the room is long and thin, the table must be too. The longer the table, the more important the person at the end of it. Actually, this concept is so deeply ingrained that we’re literally ruled over by the people who sit at the end of the table: they’re our presidents (from Latin pre- and sedere, “sit before”) and our chairpeople.
How to make people feel good
Many non-European cultures, realising how much dining arrangements can do, have used their powers for good instead of evil. The Sikhs (& Sufis) have nailed this with the Langar, a free-for-all food experience that’s all about humility and equality. They open the gurdwara (temple) for guests of all creeds, colours & castes, doing away with furniture altogether to maximise capacity – literally speaking, a leveller. This principle is very prevalent on the Indian subcontinent: if everyone’s on the floor, everyone’s equal.
Moroccan culture has you sitting just off the floor, on a beautiful carpet. And over there, you even sit around the same plate and share from the same dishes. Sharing is caring, but it’s the seating shape that really makes the difference: look at the difference between the Bundestag’s grown-up crescent setup, and the childish chaos in the bipartite House of Commons.
So what about Foodisch?
Foodisch is here to resurrect social dining. They believe that you should find someone to eat with, before finding something to eat. How many great memories, moments and ideas have been shared over a plate of food?
The app/website provides a platform where anyone can throw a dinner party and anyone can come, from all corners of the city. Waiters sit next to CEOs and listen to dancers talk about writers, or about politics, travels, problems and solutions. Once you’re in, you’re equal.
That’s the ethos behind it all. Mutual respect, equality, and no hierarchy are essential to the Foodisch gatherings. It’s not about discussing haute philosophie while gorging yourself like a Grecian glutton; it’s not a chance to network with the who’s who of Berlin.
Once you’re in, you’re equal
With a hearty meal, a stimulating theme for the evening and a sprinkling of ‘mischief’, Foodisch promises to be an authentic and unpredictable experience around a dinner table.
Events will feature world cuisine, local musicians, interesting speakers and great locations, courtesy of sponsors Airbnb. But really, all of that’s just to get things going. It’s all about creating that opportunity, that space where anything can happen; it’s all about the circle.
Sign up to the mailing list here to find out when the next event will be!
Student small fry, country boy in the big city, with inky fingers and a travel guitar.