A handful of dogs in east London are eating like kings this weekend.
At a two-day pop-up restaurant called The Curious Canine Kitchen, organizer Natasha Mason and certified raw-food chef Emily Stephenson served a five-course organic meal—including quinoa and buckwheat biscuits with apple and cinnamon—just for dogs.
Wearing a dress with a dog on it and a matching fascinator, Mason, a graphic designer-turned-yoga teacher and dog lover, greeted the dogs and owners as they made their way into the pop-up space on Saturday. Incense was burning and brightly colored paintings of dogs covered the walls. Mason’s own pup, a 4-year-old Griffon Bruxellois named Anatole Wolfrus Morrissey Zucowsky the Second (“He’s named after my dad”) was also at the event, making friends with the nearly dozen other dogs attending.
The healthy food event was inspired by the late Juliette de Baïracli Levy, a British herbalist and author whom Mason calls “the godmother of holistic dog care.” Clutching Anatole, Mason explained that dogs deserve to have healthy, delicious meals as much as humans do. “When you do a breakdown of what goes into dog food, all the additives,” — here she made a horrified face. “That’s not nutritious! That’s questionable.” So she wanted to create a menu of healthy, organic fare made with “top artisan supplies” that dogs would enjoy.
Tickets to the pop-up, which is being held on both Saturday and Sunday, ran for £20 (about $29) and sold out in a matter of days. (All of the proceeds will be donated to Amazon CARES, a charity which promotes wildlife conservation in the Peruvian Amazon region.)
As the crowd of mostly small, mostly well-behaved dogs munched on dishes such as crispy Paddywack with reishi mushroom cream, steamed chicken with dandelion and parsley quinoa, and tripe with wakame seaweed and kale, in between lapping up coconut water and beef consomme from small bowls, owners chatted with one another.
Chris Dodd, a 32-year-old film director who brought his sociable 1-year-old cockapoo named Dexter, said it was the first event like this for his pup. The dog is getting neutered on Monday, “so this is his treat before,” Dodd explained, as Dexter ran over to meet a dachshund in a neckerchief.
An eager Jack Russell terrier named Eddie pulled at the leash held by his dog-sitter Karen Stocker, a retired journalist and friend of Eddie’s owners. As Eddie snacked on popcorn made with coconut oil, Stocker confided, “Eddie’s not used to sharing so this should be interesting.”
Not everything on the menu was a hit with the canines; more than a few sides of seaweed are ignored. Maria Baez, the 17-year-old owner of Pulgas, a snowy white Bichon Frise, said that he’s usually “quite picky.” But most of the dogs in attendance were more than happy to chow down.