Chikù's staff in the kitchen, Source: La Kumpania Chikù

In Naples, you can find Europe’s possibly only Romani fusion restaurant

In Naples, you can find Europe’s possibly only Romani fusion restaurant

Social inclusion through gastronomy in one of Italy’s most dangerous neighbourhoods

To many people, the Scampia neighbourhood in Naples might only bring immediate allusions to the mafia, drug crime and social decay, as well as the portrayal of these issues in the popular TV series Gomorrah. However, Scampia is also home to what has been described as Italy’s first Romani (Rom) restaurant, and in fact, it might be Europe’s only such, as well.

The place, is called Chikù, and according to Euronews, it has won almost a dozen awards at national and international levels, since its creation in 2014. Culinary achievements aside, it is also remarkable for the social purpose it serves in the trouble-plagued district, where drug trafficking and discrimination against Roma are a daily part of the landscape.

Chikù is the creation of two associations, La Kumpania and Chi rom e… chi no, whose goal was to bring Neapolitan and Romani women together in one sport working for one goal – the wellness of a culinary business. That common purpose and the shared workspace have managed to melt the suspicion and prejudices existing between some members of the two communities.

Italian cuisine with a social cause

The philosophy behind the food the women create is to maintain and respect both Neapolitan and Roma food traditions while also finding a space to merge the best of them both to create something new.

One of their most popular - and delicious - creations is a take on Moussaka, a Balkan dish. “We wanted to have food that is in season locally, so we thought up this new Moussaka which we call Kumpania Moussaka”, explains Emilia Ferulano one of the restaurant founders, speaking to Euronews Culture.

She reveals the recipe: “We take a type of potato patty with friarielli [a local bitter spinach that grows at the base of Mount Vesuvius] and layer it with cheese, bechamel, another layer of potato patty and we glaze it with a mixture of eggs, milk and cheese… It’s a very easy recipe but it took us a lifetime to perfect it”.

Chikù is not just a restaurant. It also operates as a catering service, and women prepare snacks for schools, organise cooking classes and gastronomic-cultural events.



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