Macquarie University Workshop participants came up with the idea to co-create the final lunch together at the Sabah workshop because our favourite dishes represent who we are, with all the spices, flavour, and colour of our own culture. On the morning of the lunch, we went to the PACOS gardens to collect the necessary herbs. Kartik (from Restless Development) had already gathered lemongrass from our walk the previous morning. Hilda, our homestay host, provided the rest of the food.
The kitchen was later abuzz with activity, chopping, mixing, laughing and the smell of co-creation. The buzz embodied the very principles of our curriculum co-creation. We shared the stories behind the recipes, when dishes were eaten, and how they were served. We marveled at food preparation techniques and pairings of food we hadn’t considered. For example, Hanh (from KOTO) had never seen chili being smashed before, having always chopped it for Vietnamese dishes. Rojieka (from PACOS) was amazed as she saw raw tofu (which she ate regularly) being fried to make a Vietnamese dish. Leungchhoung (from ACF), who confessed he never cooks at home in Cambodia, sat and smashed peanuts for a Vietnamese dish, just happy to be helpful. Amazing smells emerged from the kitchen as Indian chicken curry cooked in the pot and mixed with the aroma of Cambodian sour fish soup, fried tofu and pineapple. This mixture of smells, methods, sharing and learning illustrated the synergies and collaboration that drove our work together. We then sat down together to the most amazing array of dishes, surrounded by new friends, colleagues and a shared understanding of what we could create together.