The Knowledge of Taste is a project commissioned by Latin Elephant in partnership with South London Gallery. It is part of Inhabiting Spaces, the public programme 2021-2022 of Latin Elephant, supported by the Arts Council England.
Since the 90s, Elephant & Castle has been a central space for the Latin American community of London and for minority ethnic traders. Having in mind the issues of gentrification that affect the neighbourhood (which recently gained more visibility due to the closure of the E&C Shopping Centre, a key spot for the community and the traders), I wanted to reflect upon the danger of losing our restaurants, cafes, and culinary spaces. Understanding these spaces as sites of preservation and exchange of embodied forms of knowledge and memory - particularly, of the knowledge of taste - enables us to see gentrification as limiting the access to community and as an act of epistemic violence.
With a special interest in finding out more about the female presence among the Latin American food traders of the area, I invited some of the female entrepreneurs to share a recipe for a cookbook. One of them, a Venezuelan sauce called Salsa Guasacaca, was later cooked collectively in the workshop that took place at South London Gallery, where participants shared their own culinary memories of the area or other parts of London that have a similar meaning for their own communities.