Rice, peas and pomegranate

Casa Ali

It’s a supper club where Ali Zaidi’s art and life intuitively converge. At his Southeast London home, guests are invited every fortnight to what he calls ‘gatherings of love and more love’.

Arriving at Journeys of Love and More Love

He chooses not to give his dishes any names. The recipes are seldom repeated as if the dishes are all a work in progress. Each time some new flourish is added or an ingredient is changed making the food taste totally different. Having presented food related projects of varying scales, for instance where audiences on guided tour were served home cooked off-menu food at a Brick Lane restaurant, to devising a 45 course dinner for 45 guests celebrating his parent’s sapphire wedding anniversary, to staging autobiographical video installation with edible interludes catering for 92 guests twice each evening at Melbourne International Festival.

Melbourne performance

Why has he chosen his own home?

“Love is an act where pleasure is exchanged for no other reason than the exchange itself. Sharing fills me with joy. I loved to draw as it gave me pleasure as well as to those who I drew. Then camera came along in my life, drawing got neglected. For a brief time photography became my first love. As I turned 40 something shifted within as different facets started to merge together. Now there is big umbrella love! I find it hard to distinguish between the different art forms unless some funding application requires the precise distinctions. Often complex international collaborative projects take their own sweet time, I decided to re-dress the notion of love by engaging more with the ‘now’.

In the words of Rumi “Let the beauty we love be what we do”, my yearning of connecting with people and desire of handmade things grew stronger . I see food differently, a bridge that connects. I see food as edible sculptures that express love and complete the circle of exchange quite instantly. By that I mean, there is a gratification of seeing what it does to those who eat it. In past projects various chefs prepared my recipes allowing space for me to direct or perform. Now, it is a live act and there is no performance other than I am being myself and in a space where guests can be themselves and fully engage with each other. I concoct mixtures of imagined memories and tastes and open up my casa. It is an act of trust and intimacy on both sides. My passion that goes in the making of food, once consumed, animates and reflects their own passion. There is an exchange of love. Those who break bread at Casa Ali take a little of me with them. To see them blossom fills me with an inexplicable joy”. Ali Zaidi

Ali regularly shares his cooking and food gathering images on instagram. Less than a year ago he started #sharefood with two images, within a year there are over 300,000 images shared by others using the hashtag. We hope you continue to build on it.

Casa Ali plans to conduct themed cookery classes in the near future. If you would like to participate, do get in touch. You can read more about the dates and bookings here.

10 thoughts on “Casa Ali”

  1. Mr.Ali
    Were you a high student at Divisional public school Model Town, Lahore?
    I had a classmate there, who was a wonderful artist

    1. ghulam abbas!!! i remember you fondly!! how beautiful to have stumbled across like this after atleast 30years or so!! i will drop you an email!!

  2. My dear Ali Zaidi,
    I reply here , as I did not want to be in Facebook
    It is NO wonder that I feel so deeply for you, when I saw you on Massage Exchange, so I just read , your yearning to connect with people. You are ALL LOVE and reading about Casa Ali your food and artistry, a place where guests can be themselves and fully engage with each other, and those who break bread with you at casa Ali take a little of you with them. I look forward to meet you face to face one day
    Much LOVE

    1. thank you cornelis you are very kind… if you ever visit north, you must come and visit casa ali!! will do a special gathering with my brisbane inspired memories 🙂

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