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“Pop Up For Peace” aims to put differences aside in the name of food

ST. LOUIS - If you know the dangers of having too many cooks in the kitchen, I assure you there’s nothing to worry about here. In fact, their collaboration has a special purpose.

“This is like a peace event. Bring people together to eat, to share. There is nothing better than food to get people together,” said Terez Abounader.

The Palestinian-born Abounader moved to St. Louis in 1972 and has been sharing her gift for Arabic cooking in this town ever since.

“From hummus to kibbe, to meat pies, spinach pies; you name it. All that Arabic food," she said.

Born and raised in Israel, Ben Poremba moved to St.Louis his senior year of high school. More than 20 years later, the Parkway North grad is chef and owner of Bengelina Hospitality Group with an all-star lineup of restaurants that include.

“Elaia, Olio, Parigi, Nixta, La Patisserie Chouquette, and The Benevolent King," Poremba said.

Ben, Terez, and several other local chefs are coming together Sunday night for an event titled “Pop Up For Peace.” No religion. No politics. Bringing people together one bite at a time. It’s the brainchild of longtime St. Louis restauranteur Pepe Kehm, owner and chef of Peno in Clayton.

“I don’t want to argue, I don’t want to argue politics, I just want to say you cook this food, you cook this food, we all cook together and spend an afternoon together. And I said, 'Absolutely. I’d be honored to participate and take part in it,'” Poremba said.

“I’m going to do falafel. Which everybody--Jewish people, Arabic people--everybody loves falafel,” Abounader said.

And that’s the idea -- to connect people with different beliefs through their shared love of food.

“I think that food is one thing that really brings people together and reminds people how much they’re alike and not different. It really brings out the human aspect of celebration, sitting together, cooking,” Poremba said.

“Pop up for Peace” is this Sunday, June 10 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Peno in Clayton. Reservations can be made by phone or online.

RSVP by calling 314-899-9699 or online at PenoSoulFood.com