Cooking #WithRefugees: A flavourful counternarrative
As Hippocrates said: Let Food by Thy Medicine. But let it also be our United Inspiration. To coincide with World Refugee Day on June 20, the Cooking # WithRefugees festival will match refugee chefs in Greece with kindred restaurants around the capital. The idea is simple: during the festival, the regular menus of our partner restaurants will be enriched with dishes created by our refugee chefs for patrons to enjoy.
A humanitarian initiative that uses the universal power of food to change how we see refugees, the idea for Cooking #WithRefugees was born to counter the negative bias towards refugees by encouraging them to use food as a vehicle for storytelling and connecting with others. Food is a powerful counter-narrative to bias and is the most effective way to break stereotypes and facilitate societal integration. A key part of the festival is that the refugee cooks will be on hand when their food is served and will be able to talk with people if they have questions, making the food a means of cultural exchange. The Cooking #WithRefugees festival hopes to demonstrate that this flavoursome, colourful food comes from a person and often, it has been a long, arduous road for them to bring it here: that the cuisine has a sense of place and a tradition. It also hopes to make refugees employable and to bridge a crucial gap in the workforce. But perhaps most of all, the aim is to begin to change the way immigrants are perceived.
Sunday, 18 June and Monday, 19 June, 2023
Ukrainian Cuisine with Mariia Borysenko & Kostas Lykouras – Shedia Home
Mariia Borysenko will kick off the Festival at ‘Shedia Home’, located at the historical centre of Athens. Mariia’s traditional Ukrainian Varenyky and her favourite Kiev Cake will blend with the flavours of chef Kostas Lykouras in the welcoming home of Shedia social project, powered by the Greek street paper Shedia.
Mariia Borysenko will kick off the festival at ‘Shedia Home’, where her traditional Ukrainian Varenyky and her favourite Kiev Cake will blend with the flavours of chef Kostas Lykouras. © UNHCR/Achilleas Zavallis
Monday, 19 June and Tuesday, 20 June 2023
Dianne Priscille Ndzouatchoua will offer heartwarming recipes from Cameroon, including her renowned Poulet DG, which finds a perfect match with the unpretentious cooking of chef Agapi Miheli, at the new generation fast food restaurant ‘Lotza tis Geitonias’ in Exarchia.
Diane Priscille Ndzouatchoua from Cameroon is testing the recipe of her renowned Poulet DG with the Greek chef Agapi Miheli. Dianne and Agapi will mix their heartwarming flavours at the new generation fast food restaurant ‘Lotza tis Geitonias’ in Exarchia. © UNHCR/Achilleas Zavallis
Wednesday, 21 June 2023
The female cooking team of ‘Lost Athens’ and its chefs Helen Saradis and Ilektra Rigkou are welcoming the flavourful Afghan dishes of Roya Saifi, offering a new gastronomic and cultural experience in Pangrati, one the busiest and hippest neighborhoods in Athens.
Ilektra Rigkou (left) and Helen Saradis (right), Head chefs of Lost Athens in Pangrati, will cook with Roya Saifi (middle) for the Cooking WithRefugess Festival © UNHCR/Achilleas Zavallis
Thursday, 22 June 2023
A full menu including Syrian recipes by Adel Boshi and their Greek matches by chef Gogo Delogianni will tempt Athenians to visit ‘Stoa Kerameikos’ for the Festival’s closure.
The Syrian aromatic recipes of Adel Boshi will mix with the beloved Greek tastes of chef Gogo Delogianni making up a full menu that will tempt us all at ‘Stoa Kerameikos’. © UNHCR/Achilleas Zavallis
The Cooking #WithRefugees Festival is organized with the support of organizations that help refugees broaden their skillset, get empowered, access opportunities and find their way into the labour market. UNHCR partners with METAdrasi, Saffron Kitchen Project and Elahe Penhan and Athens Insider Magazine for the 2023 edition.
Join the Festival and capture the flavour of hope
Take a photo of the dish you enjoyed, share it on social media (@UNHCRGreece, #WithRefugees) and send your own message of hope!
About World Refugee Day
World Refugee Day is an international day designated by the United Nations to honour refugees around the globe. It falls each year on 20 June and celebrates the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home country to escape conflict or persecution. The 2023 theme of World Refugee Day is “hope away from home” and focuses on solutions for refugees and the power of inclusion.
UNHCR is a global organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights, and building a better future for people forced to flee their homes because of conflict and persecution. We are present in Greece since 1952, trying to ensure the protection and integration of refugees and asylum-seekers in the country. UNHCR has developed initiatives and tools to link refugees in Greece with the labour market, implements vocational training, education and livelihoods programmes, focuses on awareness-raising activities and works with the Greek authorities, civil society actors, cities and municipalities, the private sector and the local and refugee communities to promote inclusion policies at local and national level so that refugees can thrive in and contribute to their new home.