Eastern celebration in Muswell Hill reflects ‘poignant’ mood

New east food at the Rosehip and Rye experience in Muswell Hill

New east food at the Rosehip and Rye experience in Muswell Hill - Credit: William Mata

Two women with roots in Russia and Ukraine brought people together over dinner at Queen’s Wood Café on Muswell Hill Road earlier this month.

The event was the latest in a series organised by pop-up diner Rosehip and Rye aiming to celebrate the ‘new east’ - an area that covers from Russia and Ukraine to Estonia and Georgia.

The original reason for the event, planned weeks earlier, was to mark Maslenitsa, a week-long celebration of spring and renewal in Slavic countries - equivalent to Shrove Tuesday. 

But the recent events in Ukraine gave it an “extra poignancy,” according to Katrina Kollegaeva - one of the co-owners of Rosehip and Rye. 

“Maslenitsa is normally a joyful and happy celebration, which, of course, wasn’t how we were all feeling.

“But we decided to go ahead with the dinner to create a safe and welcoming space for people: to talk, to be nourished and to get support. Also, to provide some temporary respite from the horrendous news, especially for those of us with families in Ukraine.” 

Rosehip and Rye was founded by Katrina, or Katya in Russian, who is from Estonia and of Ukrainian and Russian heritage, and Karina Baldry, a Muscovite with a family in the Caucasus. 

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Since starting the project as a “hobby” in 2012, they now deliver fresh food boxes across North London and began their Queen’s Wood Tuesday residency last year - serving dishes inspired by their roots. 

“We have been running events for ten years now, promoting the food and cultures from across the post-Soviet countries,” Katrina added. “Now more than ever we want to foster more conversations and awareness about the history and current realities of this wonderful and complex region.” 

Katrina added that it is very common for people in that region to have mixed backgrounds, which makes the conflict particularly difficult. 
“There are a lot of people from the former soviet countries in the area, as well as many others with some ancestry in Eastern-Europe. We didn’t know that initially. 

“It feels incredible to be able to provide a warm and welcoming space to people from so many backgrounds, especially during these difficult times.

“The Maslenitsa dinner attracted a very diverse group of people, some with families in Russia and Ukraine, others with a keen interest and sympathy for what’s happening in the region.” 

For more information, visit rosehipandrye.co.uk