Greenpoint Gazette
Karolina Gumpert (standing) leading a Polish Flavors workshop at Le Fond in Greenpoint. Photo Credit: Greenpoint. The Transition

Greenpoint Cooking Series Looks At Polish Food Beyond Pierogis

BY Tanay Warerkar

Polish food is more than just pierogis and kielbasa, opines lifelong food enthusiast and Greenpoint resident Karolina Gumpert, and she’s showing people how in a new seven-week long Polish food preparation series currently underway at Le Fond on Norman Avenue.

Polish Flavors, as the workshop is titled, examines a modern, contemporary take on traditional Polish food, and explores aspects of taste and visual presentation.

It’s part of the six-month long Polish heritage celebration, Greenpoint. The Transition, set to continue through the end of the year.

Gumpert grew up just outside of Krakow in Poland, and moved to Greenpoint three years ago. Gumpert said she’s passionate about food for as long as she can remember, whether it was sneaking off with some of her grandmother’s cookies when she was a child running around the kitchen in her home in Poland, or helping her family prepare a traditional meal during the holidays.

In her cooking workshop at Le Fond, Gumpert wants very much to reflect the realities of present day Poland – a country embracing its tradition, but also incorporating the needs of the modern, health conscious set.

And it’s not just about the food for Gumpert – as Polish people have moved away from Greenpoint, and as the neighborhood continues to change its persona, she also wants the workshop to a place to reflect on those changes, and allow a space where people can talk about what the neighborhood means to them today and how they would like to see – a place to share the diverse, individual experiences that new people are bringing to the neighborhood. All in the background of mouth-watering Polish delicacies.

While choosing the ingredients for the workshop, which are all provided to attendees for the cost of $15 for each session, Gumpert has focused on using seasonal produce. So far she has taught attendees recipes focused on Rhubarb, Strawberry, Beets, and Zucchini. Each week tries to use the group of fruits and vegetables in a different – if it learning how to pickle one week, then working on poaching them the next week.

Gumpert became involved with Greenpoint. The Transition after helping organize the street-festival part of the event last year. This year she decided to take on a bigger role, and incorporate her passion for food.

Three sessions remain for the workshops that are held Sunday afternoon and regularly attract between 15-20 people, but as Gumpert said, each week is different and people shouldn’t feel intimidated to attend if they’ve missed previous ones.

“My idea is to have a community table, share food, share life experiences in the background of Polish flavors,” said Gumpert. “I love cooking, baking, and being able to share these moments with everyone that attends.”

Polish Flavors, Sundays (6/21, 6/28, 7/5) at Le Fond, 105 Norman Avenue, 4-6 p.m., for more information email marta@cultureshock.pl, or call 6465738915, $15.

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