The festival runs in 14 major cities worldwide over 10 days. It is an international initiative hosted by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). It aims to welcome refugee chefs into renowned restaurant kitchens, in the name of unity and embracing culinary diversity.
In Cape Town from June 16 to the 26, 10 menus are expected to be enriched with dishes prepared by 15 refugee chefs.
Among restaurants that will take its guests’ tastebuds on a trip down Africa is the Power and the Glory in Tamboerskloof which will be featuring two dishes by Palestinian bakers, The Reverie Social Table in Observatory will feature Angolan cuisines and Thali, a restaurant in Gardens, will be serving Bengali cuisine.
“The Refugee Food Festival - a novel idea - mobilises citizens, local authorities, NGOs, restaurants, refugees and UNHCR to work together to help dispel myths around refugees,” said Adan Ilmi, UNHCR regional representative for southern Africa said.
The festival was first launched in 2016 and this year’s is expected see more than 100 restaurants in cities including New York, Amsterdam and Athens open their kitchens to chefs from Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and beyond.
Every year, the festival showcases the diverse cooking talents of refugees and celebrates communities.
“It also helps to facilitate their integration into the communities that welcome them and create a shared experience around the most hospitable of gestures - eating and enjoying food prepared by people from different parts of the world,” Ilmi said.
This year again the UNHCR has joined hands with Food Sweet Food, a French NGO that was established in 2013 that promotes culinary traditions from around the world. Through this partnership it has assisted refugee chefs to meet restaurant owners and find employment after the festival.
“The fact that regular citizens support this project is very important: mobilising civil society will contribute to welcoming refugees,” president of Food Sweet Food Louis Martin said.
For more information, visit www.refugeefoodfestival.com/