Where did the title come from?
A Kitchen language a format that is strongly related to gastronomy, as I invite guests to dinner in my own apartment, my salon. We talk to each other in the kitchen – that was the basic idea of the show. We discuss important, provocative, socially valid, spicy, slippery, so exciting in any sense topics in the language of the kitchen, ie at a table set on the basis of our own knowledge.
Why do you need a table and a place setting for the discussion?
Because the set table is a very important cultural symbol. It gives the medium of civilization, culture, in which even very distant opinions, emotions, ideologies, political positions can be planted and contrasted.
Do people with different worldviews talk, argue, argue without rating each other?
That is the intention. The first two episodes have already been filmed. It turns out that there can even be heated debates and even quarrels, but what we are already starting to forget works all the way through. It turns out that even during heated debates, the goal is not to shoot each other, to destroy the other. It turns out that I can discuss things with the person furthest away from me, honestly, curiously.
What turns out to be that people who seem to be very far apart think surprisingly similarly on certain issues, and can two people who are already close to each other have very different opinions?
That is clearly the case. We simplify things terribly, we try to wrap everything and everyone somewhere with true-false code – it’s a marketing technique that is used in politics and commerce, by the way. Front lines are created from which we can shoot each other. In Hungarian political life, fighting, hunting, and assassination are the most important values, instead of dialogue, dialogue, discussion, and exchange of ideas. If we let go of the black-and-white division, we see inspiring examples of how colorful the world is, how interesting conversations are made, how close people we thought were light years apart, and that’s the essence of culture.
Why does the Kitchen language that the presenter stands out from a tub of foam bath as Botticelli’s Venus?
This is the first scene of the first episode. When we are waiting for a guest, it fills our day. As The Little Princein the fox, the man begins to dress his heart early in the morning. I do the same when I jump into the tub for the morning sparrow. The tub is also a good place because the best ideas are born there. I thought I’d put this into preparation, because that’s where I started to think about the day at all, who will come to me, what I want to talk about, what I’m going to cook.
Is cooking also part of the show?
Yes, all the more so because it provides an opportunity for some improvisational elements. I love to cook, I was featured in The Chefben, I had a restaurant, I did cooking shows and I also like to cook in civilian. In addition to cooking and talking at the set table, the game is also included in these evenings. I invite three people, cook dinner for them, and they send me some ingredients that I have to use for cooking. At the beginning of dinner there is an interesting roulette where you can win appetizers from each other. The dinner ends with a nice symbolic closing, the evening ends with a joint storytelling.
Why are they telling stories?
The tale has received strange emphases in Hungary in recent years. They had a storybook, they would tell who could tell what and to whom. The fairy tale has played an important role in our lives since childhood, so co-writing a fairy tale is a very important and beautiful derivation of the evening.
Have you ever written a story?
I was invited to the TEDYouth event as a speaker, where I arrived with a fairy tale. With my own tale, reflecting a bit on the fact that fairy tales cannot be expropriated, excommunicated. This was one of the foundations of common storytelling.
How does this work in practice?
A bit like Pop-up show. I put in a title related to the topic and someone starts telling me. When I say exchange, another guest of mine continues. So at a certain point we have to switch, we have to jump into the story of the other, an improvisational, common creative process is created that connects our common subconscious. I am also your fairy tale, you are also my fairy tale, and we all write a common tale.
Sometimes it’s pretty awful.
It’s also in it, we can’t even extract ourselves from it.
Parts of the show are scheduled for thirty to forty minutes. Having so much in it – cooking, talking, discussing, playing, storytelling – requires a very tight rhythm.
This is an online format, not a Béla Tarr film. I figured it out on the fast pace of social media, let’s make it. The first part went on for forty to forty-five minutes, yet it shows strongly the very strong and deep conversation I had with the three wonderful people, my guests.
One of them is a former MMA fighter, Gusztáv Dietz.
Who was heroin addicted.
The other guest is the actor Áron Molnár, a Toxicoma starring in the founder of the noar movement, a public warrior who is unable to acknowledge that the world cannot be changed.
The third guest is Zsolt Nagy, also an extraordinary actor and charismatic man.
Who speaks publicly about struggling with alcohol problems. He revealed to the public that he was burning a candle at both ends, and as a result he had serious problems in the family, at work. He also changed his life, he talked about it in public, which I think he did very bravely. Anyway, I have a lot to tell and say about drugs and addictions.
What can three such people disagree with?
First, in that Aaron, a Toxicoma As the protagonist of non plus ultra Hungarian Trainspotting, he specifically set out to raise awareness against drugs and addiction. Although he himself did not really try these drugs.
You want to improve the world, that’s a good goal, a nice cause, but how did these three people argue about drugs and mind-altering drugs?
It will be worth a look. There were heated debates between Aaron and Zsolt, and Aaron stood in me for a few things. There has been a heated debate, for example, about what such a format is responsible for, a film like Toxicoma whether it deters young people or makes them feel like taking drugs, so there have been strong debates on many fronts.
He is usually the main character in his media appearances and a mediator in this show. How do you feel in that quality?
I’m not really a mediator. I am a host who does not try to reconcile, to mediate, who sticks to his own opinion, as he does in other situations. If necessary, also partisanly.
How do you sort your guests?
I invite people who are interested in dinner anyway. This is an arbitrary sorting method that I allow myself. I have guests who are interested, excited in some way. There may have been a conflict between us, for example I would like to invite Róbert Puzsér to dinner. I stand on social media so many times that it would be exciting to have dinner and talk together. I would also like to host Dóra Dúró, with whom I even had some asses at the Index. So it’s okay for people to sit down to argue with each other and talk to each other who may not have a good relationship with each other, there’s some tension between them because it’s also part of the culture.
There is also a kind of courage test for such dinners, as anyone with whom you have had serious conflicts and yet accepts the invitation assumes that you will not get a laxative in your dessert. This is serious trust.
Exactly. I would also love to see Gabit Tóth and Father Tibi at my desk.
Why do you think you have to do this show? Why do you consider yourself suitable for this?
On the one hand, because it came to my mind. I’ve always been an experimental, path-finding person, always interested in doing something that no one else has. It’s about my whole career being the first to do things. On the other hand, I think that since András Kepes, there is no format on the Hungarian media market that is very sympathetic to me to quote Parisian salons of the Enlightenment – obviously XXI. century robe.
So do you consider András Kepes’s talk shows to be a model, a path to follow?
Absolutely, I really like what he did, and when I was fourteen I even spent a month with him at the French Institute on an intensive language course. We talked terribly good, so when the Kitchen languageI thought, he was floating before my spiritual eyes. Obviously with the addition of what makes such a show a strong XXI. century social media content.
A Kitchen language You can see the first episode of The show on Wednesday at 8 p.m.
(Cover image: Márk Lakatos on April 23, 2021. Photo: Bodnár Patrícia / Index)