10 questions with: Monica from Roots Radicals
Today, let’s meet Monica Kisic Aguirre, the founder of the Berlin-based food project Roots Radicals. She agreed to answer our questions and shared with us valuable information about her background, her business, and her vision of healthy and sustainable food.
1) Can you present yourself and your activity in Roots Radicals in a few words?
My name is Monica Kisic Aguirre, I come from Peru. After several years of working as a researcher in the Molecular Biology field, I chose to turn myself to the culinary sphere, where I have 10 years of experience. I founded the Roots Radicals project in 2018. I wear many hats: in addition to being the founder, I am also a chef and a food scientist.
2) When and how did you find the idea to found your own food company?
Cooking has always been present in my life: t’s a passion that has always been present, and that has never left me. The next day after my graduation thesis,I created my first food blog, monitouille.com. Then, I took interest in following fermentation courses, where I became fascinated with the fermentation process of food like sourdough bread or sauerkraut. Eventually, I began baking my own bread, then doing my own butter, cheese, etc. Step by step, I became more and more involved in the sustainable food sphere, until I decided to found my own company.
3) What were your main motivations to create this business?
I wanted to act in favor of food value preservation and respect, as to create a real community and to share these essential values to them.
4) What are the main values of Roots Radicals?
Our core value is to reconnect people to good food. What does it mean? At Roots Radicals, we think that good food is good for your health, for the planet…and for your palette! Our products are handmade, made by heart. We see the product as an educational experience: that’s why we always share the product’s story: its origin, its cultivation process, its properties, etc.
Another capital value of Roots Radicals is the sense of community. We regularly create many workshops in order to inform and educate about the food system. Online, our main tools to do so are Instagram and our website. I don’t believe in competition: in the organic food world, collaboration is key.
Time is another value that is particularly linked to Roots Radicals mentality. A true organic kitchen is not rushed: it takes the time to make it. That’s what makes it delicious!
5) Can you explain a little bit more about the circular food process in your company?
At Roots Radicals, we love to explore new opportunities to limitate food waste. A great example is when we decided to use the strawberry tips instead of throwing them: we dehydrated the leaves, and we made some delicious iced tea with them! Another time,we also realised a pineapple chutney by using pineapple peelings to make vinegar. With banana leaves, we made tempuras and kombucha.
6) You have 12 years of experience in research in Molecular Biology and Chemistry. How did this experience help you to shift in the culinary sphere?
Everything in food is a scientific process. By dedicating my life to science, it gave me a proper work methodology, a structure to realise the recipe. I understand easily what to do in order to preserve products. mastering all the scientific processes involved in cooking is a real advantage in my profession.
7) What is your greatest acheivement within this company?
Going to the Markthalle Neun was a huge milestone: it made me really proud of myself! In a more general way, being able to grow a company with feminine values, and finding the equilibrium to manage a company that doesn’t take my personal life away.
8) In the future, is there another point, another sector that you would like to develop more in Roots Radicals?
One of my main goals in the future is to develop a sustainable cafe, and make the Roots Radicals community grow. I’m also planning to move to another location to have more space for the cooking activities.
9) Do you think Berlin is a food lover city? Why?
Berlin is a city with a lot of diversity, with easy access to homemade and sustainable products. There is an ecosystem of people that want to make a change.
But there is still work to do to raise awareness in the rest of the population.
10) Among the proposed fermented products in Roots Radicals, do you have a favourite one to share with us?
It would be sauerkraut. It has its own unique twist: it tastes very fresh, like an apple one. Furthermore, it is an excellent product for your health, as it boosts your immune system and your digestion, and helps you to lose some excess weight. You definitely have to try it!
Thank you Monica! If you want to know about this fascinating project that is Roots Radicals, you can check their aesthetically pleasing website here: https://rootsradicals.berlin/
They also have a nice Instagram page, check it out! https://www.instagram.com/rootsradicals.berlin/