Chef For One Night
Nestled away in the folds of the stone buildings of Beit Sahour, a town just a few kilometers east of Bethlehem, delicious smells and good vibes emanate from a small, yet distinct cafe. This unique establishment, situated near the old city, has a story of its own that lends itself to the kind of culture it has cultivated.
Getting its start in October 2013, Singer Cafe was the outcome of a vision by one woman’s desire for good cappuccino and a man’s hope to open his own coffeeshop in the Bethlehem area. Falling in love, getting married and later founding Singer Cafe, Kris and Tariq’s dream for opening a coffeeshop reached new heights. Singer now serves as a hub for both locals and internationals to come for food, coffee and conversation. Actively engaging in the community, Kris also helps teach at Bethlehem Bible College in the Tour Guiding Program.
Due to the diversity that one encounters here in the greater Bethlehem area because of tourists, volunteers and locals, Singer creates a space for all of this to come together in several ways. One of the favorites, however, is their “Chef for One Night.”
“Chef for One Night” was implemented at Singer after Kris’ trip back home to Holland during the summer of 2016, where a local establishment was bringing people from different backgrounds together around one table to share a meal and learn more about diverse cultural backgrounds. Latching onto the idea after seeing the value in this exchange, the same general idea was brought back to Singer Cafe.
On the designated evening, a volunteer prepares a meal from their culture, and those in attendance have the opportunity to try new food as well as meet new people. Beginning with Armenian cuisine, the initial “Chef for One Night” started in September 2016. Since its inception, there have been nearly twenty evenings with meals from Serbia, Palestine, India, Holland, Poland, Indonesia, New Mexico and various parts of North Africa.
When asked about the outcome of these evenings, Kris replied,
“Many new friendships have been made during these nights. We have both couples and smaller groups, as well as lots of individuals signing up for the events. Because we all sit at big tables, it is easy to start a conversation with somebody that you don’t know yet.”
These evenings bring together people that perhaps wouldn’t usually meet. This kind of interaction has spurned greater understanding and engagement with people of various backgrounds all while enjoying a tasty meal. Superseding simply crafting an excellent cappuccino, Singer Cafe has invested in a culture of understanding, diversity and celebration. If you’re local or here visiting, go check out the myriad of other activities and events that Singer has coming up! Look them up on Facebook or their website.
Photo credit goes to the photographer: Ewa Katharina
Kamila is volunteering full-time with Bethlehem Bible College in the Communications Department. In addition to her love for writing and sharing stories, her endeavors in Bethlehem and greater Palestine involve facilitating cultural immersion programs for young adults from North America to see first-hand the realities that those living here encounter. At times deemed the “eternal optimist,” Kamila holds fast to the future hope of restoration and reconciliation of all things back to God. When she’s not writing, or organizing trips, you’ll catch her training and competing with the Ultimate Palestine frisbee team.