Diet & Health

Chef Sophia Roe talks about her VICE series ‘Counter Space’

 — VICE’s Counter Space will get started airing on SBS Food, weeknights at 10.30pm from Monday, 1 November. The entire sequence is also readily available on SBS On Demand from customers. 


It’s a disservice to so several cultures and communities to say that foods are unable to ever be political. International locations have conquered other folks in lookup of the excellent spice, even though produce and trade continue on to operate as contemporary currency. As culture progressively takes a nearer appear at the environment and our have historical past, the realms of what we cook dinner and eat are also set below the lens. There’s so significantly a lot more to food stuff than what ends up on our plates, and for chef and social figure Sophia Roe, recognition and modify is at the core.  

Counter House spans 24 episodes – each and every checking out food both equally as a food and as a social construct. From agriculture to sustainability, the exhibit champions the generate and the people guiding them. “It’s difficult matter matter,” Roe tells SBS. “These usually are not simple factors that we talk about on [Counter Space].”

The display at first introduced as a collection of random information deals, and then the pandemic occurred. VICE achieved out to Roe on social media, who was known for her passionate and intersectional food insights, to direct this ground-breaking demonstrate in the course of a time where by it was needed most.  

“I was 1 of individuals actually foolish persons who considered that the [NYC] shutdown was only heading to final two months,” she admits. “I was battling with a lot of anxiety and melancholy. It was definitely challenging not becoming able to see the persons I cared about.”

The collection was nominated for a 2021 Daytime Emmy – pushing its issue make any difference into areas and conversations that it rarely existed in prior to. “The demonstrate is so not about me. I make absolutely sure I normally say that – I am just a tale steward, and there are so many stories to tell. We realized that we would be doing a thing definitely unusual, and possibly some persons would hate it – so it was seriously terrific getting recognition on that degree for something we assumed was seriously fantastic.”

Roe labored both equally as a host and a producer, in which she had sway over what was and was not spoken about on the show. “I wished to listen to about sustainability from the individuals who invented it out of requirement. We want to listen to about the magic-ness of growing tomatoes out of a Coke bottle,” Roe shares, crediting Indigenous and To start with Nations communities for the foundations of contemporary sustainability. 

“You can’t communicate about culture with no talking about food stuff.”

Counter Space’s ‘ Edible Insects’ episode explores creepy crawlies as a sustainable protein. “I was always [cooking with] ‘weird’ stuff,” says Roe. “I was in the plant-centered house, which is much less about the phrase ‘vegan’ and extra about ingenuity. Additional than three billion people today globally previously eat insects in some aspect.” With her cooking ethos in thoughts, a clean witchetty grub is the top rated of the order for when Roe ultimately visits Australia and she are not able to hold out.

All through the present, Roe unpacks conventional consuming – whether that be with the proteins we use or the way we construction our day by day meals. “Globally, most people today really don’t take in that way. What is breakfast, even? Who claims eggs and pancakes are breakfast? A Japanese breakfast is absolutely opposite, with [things like] pickled kohlrabi and miso soup.”

For those people who are generating the work to be mindful and gradual with their consuming, Roe endorses being familiar with that “hundreds of folks are dependable for what is on your plate. So quite a few growers, personnel, transportationists. Honour the soil, the earth, the time, the sunlight, the drinking water – the ecological labour that goes into the factors we eat. Just take pause for their background and ancestry.” 

“It can be about being knowledgeable – a lot of people today are responsible for us getting what we have.”  

Roe’s social media ventures advocate for a modify in language around wellness and disordered ingesting. “It is not a thing to conquer, it really is a thing to deal with. We have specified foodstuff emotion. We’ve provided food ‘good’ and ‘bad’ labels. There are no very good and bad foodstuff,” describes Roe.


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