Mera Kitchen Collective

 Nicholas Mitchel (Fellow) and Kisha Webster (President, Greenmount West Community Association)
We chose the name Mera Kitchen because it contains the Greek word meraki, which has no direct English translation. Both a verb and an adverb, it connotes that someone is doing an activity — like cooking — with complete care, devotion, and attention to the task at hand. In a world where our attention is often divided, we believe that there is immeasurable beauty and power in the collective act of creating and sharing food made with love.

Mera Kitchen Collective is a community-driven, worker-owned, food-based cooperative focused on empowerment of refugee and immigrant women by tapping into their passion for cooking, self-expression, and creating community. Each one of our members / chefs has ownership in this enterprise that we built together. This allows for each individual to not only strengthen their culinary expertise, but also build equity and have a voice in the operations. Our proceeds go to our chefs and their families, and to support refugees in Baltimore.

Mera's chefs are experienced cooks who had to flee their home countries. Often, they have had to start their professional and personal lives from scratch. We love Baltimore and each of our chefs is eager to put their skills back to use to re-establish an independent, sustainable livelihood. One of our short-term goals is to have our own commercial kitchen., which will allow us to accept more catering requests and help us be more sustainable in general.

We believe that promoting equitable access to opportunities, building community, and providing living wages are the keys to long-term self-determination, independence, and happiness. Our goal as a collective is to amplify the skills and passion of our newest neighbors. We hope to connect our local community and chefs, who are eager to share their experience through food.

Mera Kitchen Collective hosts pop-up events, and offers catering services and cooking classes throughout Baltimore City. Each pop-up event features a different chef with their own story, providing our guests with a unique dining experience that not only includes handmade food, but also a better understanding of the part of the world from which the food comes, through the lived experience of the very person who prepared the meal.

Connect with Mera Kitchen Collective online and on Facebook and Instagram.