LEFTOVER TIMES. In 2012, Pepe Dayaw started a series of dinners where he cooked what he found inside people’s fridges. In 2021, after nine years of nomadic cookings, Pepe remembers this body of experience, piece by piece, a time of leftover cooking, migrant movements, and the quest for his own dream and anthropology.

a word from the Bikol language spoken by people in the Bikol region and islands in the Pacific Eastern side of the Philippine archipelago. It translates in English to ‘leftovers’. It pertains to both the noun and the verb or the act of leaving something behind for someone.

a word from the Tagalog language spoken by people in the Tagalog region in the big island of Luzon and many other surrounding islands. It pertains to the both the action or situation on which someone finds oneself somewhere. It would translate in German as ‘zufall’.

A little over a year after moving to Amsterdam on a study scholarship, I decided to move to Spain, out of love, and a search for a new home. Running out of scholarship money, visa and new to the European lifestyle, I turned to marrying my boyfriend in order to stay in Madrid and started a cooking project where I ended up cooking in people’s private houses where I made meals with what I found in their fridges.

A three month project turned into many things that included travels into unexpected places, encounters with inspiring, wonderful and authentic people, unforgettable situations and a path that would lead me to Berlin, the place I now call my homebase, and a slow cooked renewal to what I always loved: to dance.

For one year, from summer of 2021 until 2022, I will remember and recook the leftovers of this experience into a series of stories that map memories of dishes, conversations, artefacts and encounters that colored, textured and spiced how I ended up now here. This is my Nowhere Kitchen story.

– Pepe Dayaw

To follow the story, go to Table of Contents

‘Washing Dishes’. Image printed on paper, scanned. Pepe Dayaw in a train station, Uckermark, 2017. Photographer, Marie Capesius