Learning about a new culture can be a daunting task. There are history and customs to learn about, new stories to hear and sometimes a new language to pick up. The Fork & Spoon Homestyle Kitchen simplified that process by inviting the Bozeman community to celebrate and learn about the Colombian culture with music, art, discussion and an authentic Colombian dinner.

On Tuesday, March 20the Fork & Spoon (formerly known as the Community Café) partnered with history Professor Molly Todd’s class on their current project, entitled “Who is a Refugee.” Todd’s class has been working to “encourage cross-cultural critical thought centered on resilience and overcoming what it means to be a ‘traditional’ refugee in our modern world,” according to their ad for the event.  

Fork & Spoon invited guest chef Claudia Krevat of Claudia’s Mesa, who fed over 200 hungry guests, as well as musical guests BoZambique. Kevat is a local chef from Colombia. BoZambique is a five member local band inspired by Afro-pop, Cuban and Brazilian song and dance music.

The menu included a starting salad and Arepas (a corn patty made with cheese), followed by choice of Ajiaco (traditional Colombian stew) or a Montana-Colombian fusion pizza to satisfy guests for the main course. The staff perfected a delectable coconut flan for dessert. Fork & Spoon operates on the innovative pay-what-you-can model, in which patrons are presented with a suggested price, but ultimately set their own price for the meal.

Throughout the dining room hung pictures taken by photographer and observer Steve Cagan, who has spent over 15 years traveling to Colombia in order to document the atrocities local communities face because of the lumber, agricultural and mining industries.

After supper, Cagan presented some of his findings. “We cannot decided what the best thing for them is,” Cagan said. “Non-Governmental Organizations and solidarity groups can help support communities, but the decision to resist has to come from the communities themselves.” Cagan’s exhibit and presentation were made possible by Gallatin Refugee Connections, MSU College of Letters & Science, MSU Department of History, Philosophy & Religious Studies and Humanities Montana.

The Front House Manager of the Fork & Spoon, Chelsea Eddy gave some comments after the event. “We would love to make Fork & Spoon into a rotating gallery for artists, we already have over 2 months’ worth of exhibits,” Eddy said. "As a pay what you can restaurant, we are open to all Bozeman residents, including those who need access to an affordable meals, those who want to support our social mission by dining with us and paying it forward or those who are just looking for a quick, healthy dinner."