Established by cook and food entrepreneur Rahel Stephanie in 2019, Spoons started as a supper club, a space where Stephanie could share Indonesian food with her friends. Fast forward three eventful years and Stephanie has built a devoted London fanbase, with her pop-up events in the city’s restaurant kitchens selling out in seconds.
While ‘authenticity’ has been thrown around so much when describing food culture that it’s all but lost meaning, staying through to, and honouring her roots is crucial to Stephanie’s project. Hailing from Jakarta, where her family still lives, Stephanie was first inspired to start cooking by “Indonesian aunties” on Youtube. “I used to obsess over Indomie instant noodles from a very young age (and still do) so much that my mom had to ration this to once a week”, she told Delicious Magazine. “To me, it was a weekend treat I’d look forward to all week.”
Stephanie’s goal extends beyond just a delicious menu. Cooking Indonesian dishes – which have routinely been co-opted and appropriated in the west – serves as a way of reclaiming, decolonizing, and celebrating the plant-based foods of her heritage. Having expanded into catering and baking, Stephanie is well on her way to bringing Indonesian cooking to the masses, but she’s equally invested in giving back to her home. In 2021 she set up a fundraiser for the LGBTQ+ community in Indonesia, with the goal to give back to the place that shaped her.
Text Zsofia Paulikovics