Refugees, food — and their impact on each other
When wars create refugees, those who resettle in new countries often impact the food cultures of their new homes. In some cases, they feed neighbors and hosts. In others, they cook professionally. And in yet others, they find work — which is essential to setting up a life in a new place — at food companies.
Here are some of the best stories I could find about how refugees interact with food, and how others use food to help them.
Refugees Discover New Opportunities in the Food Industry (Eater)
"It's hard enough to start over with a new country, language, new culture, but when the only jobs available are the lowest-paying, it doesn't leave much room for success. German culinary training program Refugee Canteen wants to change that when it brings in its first class in October 2016. "People with foreign backgrounds often work in kitchens," co-founder Lukas Halfmann says. "But they commonly end up as dishwashers." He sees a lot of unused potential. Meanwhile, Germany is facing a "skills shortage in every sector of gastronomy." With culinary training encompassing basic commercial kitchen skills, vocabulary, and an internship, Halfmann hopes to benefit German restaurants and the influx of refugees alike.
In Houston, Syrian refugees are starting new lives amid adversity (Fusion)
HOUSTON—Before the protests, before the war, before he was beaten and electrocuted by Syrian police, Kamal was a chef.
Over 16 years on the job at a five-star restaurant in a Damascus hotel, Kamal learned the finer points of French cuisine and enjoyed the glamour of the cosmopolitan capital. He perfected his favorite dish, the cordon bleu: a crispy chicken breast stuffed with steaming cheese, mushrooms, and corn.
This Food Truck Serves Up Gourmet Fare And Drinks — And Jobs For Refugees (NPR)
Three refugee-baristas are buzzing about inside the truck. Amina Ahyaoui, 32, arrived from Casablanca, Morocco, in 2014. Tha Hlei Iang, 31, is from the Chin state in Myanmar. She spent four years in Malaysia with her husband and daughter before they made their way to Clarkston in 2011. Ahmad Alzoukani, 31, is a pharmacist from Damascus, Syria. He came to Clarkston in September of last year.
Though Iang and Ahyaoui are trainees who only began working at Refuge Coffee a few weeks ago, they pour and stir and make change like seasoned professionals. Iang laughs when she says she doesn't even drink coffee or tea, just juice and water. Ahyaoui loves coffee, but enjoys socializing with the customers more. Alzoukani, who has been with Refuge Coffee for a little over a year, is quick to point out his specialty. "I make the best cappuccinos," he says.
Mauritanian refugees make new home in Ohio (CNN)
Cincinnati, Ohio (CNN) - In the back of an African grocery store in northern Cincinnati, Bakary uses a jigsaw to slice the heads off frozen fish.
This life is a dream come true - something he never imagined growing up as a slave in Mauritania, a West African country in the Sahara Desert.
“Life is a lot better” in the United States, he said. “You are free.”
‘Migrating Meals’ encourages difficult conversations, one delicious dinner at a time (Seattle Times)
“I think people really want to talk about these things that are hard,” says Molly Payne, Project Feast program coordinator. “We want to create a space for people to ask questions without feeling threatened or silly.”
So Project Feast started “Migrating Meals.” It’s a series of dinners hosted by immigrant- and refugee-run restaurants, where tough topics are served alongside food that showcases our region’s international diversity.
For Helping Immigrants, Chobani’s Founder Draws Threats (New York Times)
“The minute a refugee has a job, that’s the minute they stop being a refugee,” Mr. Ulukaya said in a talk he gave this year.
Today, Chobani has annual yogurt sales of around $1.5 billion. Last year, Mr. Ulukaya signed the Giving Pledge, promising to give away a majority of his fortune to assist refugees.
Refugee Restaurant Week in Boise spotlights chefs from Iraq and Congo (Idaho Statesman)
At Juniper, chef Aaron Wermerskirchen is teaming up with Aminata Kika, who originally comes from Republic of the Congo. After war raged in her home country, Kika resettled in South Africa, where she trained to be a chef at the prestigious Westin Cape Town Hotel. She moved to Boise six months ago and works for Mathieu Choux at Gaston’s Bakery.
Elderly Couple Mistakes Refugee Home for Restaurant, Gets Fed Anyway (The Daily Meal)
“We had no idea who they were,” Suliman said later. “Nobody knew them, but one thing was clear to me - they were hungry.”
So Suliman offered them some seats around a table and said he could bring out some eggs, toast, homemade jam, homemade flat bread, tomatoes and yogurt.
Stärz and Eppinger were a little surprised by the look of the place--the tables and chairs did not match, and there were no other customers--but they figured the restaurant had just opened.
In honor of Veterans Day (Nov. 11), this month's theme is war and veterans.