Witches Brew Variety Show

It was a dark, blustery Halloween evening. Which meant it was time for our Witches Brew Benefit Variety Show! Advance tickets had sold out, meaning El Gabinete was full of revellers awaiting with trepidation a night of spooky entertainment from our eerie array of performers.   Hosted by the ghoulish Dominic Anglim, we enjoyed the scarily good talents of story teller and poet J.D Candora. Claire Jones provided us with a stand-up routine detailing the …

Taste of Morocco and Syria in Madrid

Written by: Ekaterina Kuznetsova One thing you are missing when reading this article is the smell of the amazing food that was cooked by a very talented Moroccan chef Rachida. You are missing out on a lot, trust me. But let’s start from the beginning. Rachida moved to Syria with her husband. Later she was forced to leave the country with him and her four kids. First, she moved to Germany but then her family …

The Closing Meal with Wesal and Restaurant Gigi, Refugee Food Festival Day 5, 24.06.2018

It was hard to believe that we had reached the final day of the Refugee Food Festival in Madrid sitting on the terrace outside Restaurant Gigi with the rich aromas of chef Wesal’s traditional Syrian flavours wafting through the air. Throughout the week eight fully-booked restaurants have flung open their kitchen doors to seven refugee and asylum seeker chefs who have in turn shared their treasured cultural dishes in a professional restaurant environment. The chef …

Building Bridges with Rachida at Ochenta Nextdoor, Refugee Food Festival Day 4, 23.06.2018

The long, open kitchen of Ochenta Nextdoor is on display for the whole restaurant to behold. You are able to watch as the row of dexterous hands, like some culinary conveyor belt, pieces together mouth-watering creations. The operators this evening were the guest Moroccan chef Rachida and the restaurant owner Oscar, and when I caught them, they were laying the final preparations for the penultimate meal of Madrid’s Refugee Food Festival. Another fully booked night, …

Storytelling with Valentín at Elektra, Refugee Food Festival Day 5, 23.06.2018

“He loves talking to people about his food,” another MFR volunteer told me as I arrived to Saturday’s brunch event at Restaurante Elektra. “He has a story for every different type of arepa.” Chef José Valentín was standing behind the buffet table on Elektra’s shady terrace, serving a wide variety of his favorite dishes: a fruit salad in guava juice, a loaf of bread rolled with ham and olives, sweets of all shapes and sizes. …

Cross-Cultural Collaboration with Chef Wesal and Barrutia y El 9, Refugee Food Festival Day 4, 23.06.2018

Walking through the doors at Barrutia y El 9 feels special. It’s the kind of picturesque, old-school Spanish bar that’s becoming more and more difficult to find in Madrid. The walls are covered with ornate tiles and the bar itself, while small, features all of the basic necessities: cold beer and herbed olives waiting to be plated for the guests that began pouring in shortly after I arrived. Luis, the stoic yet amiable chef and …

A Process of Understanding with Ahmad at L’Artisan: Refugee Food Festival Day 3, 21.06.2018

Late last Thursday evening, the fourth chef of the Refugee Food Festival in Madrid, Ahmad A., could be found quietly sitting in an inviting corner of L’Artisan Furansu Kitchen restaurant listening to the happy buzz of diners enjoying her culinary skills. She was stealing some much needed rest after a long day preparing for the fourth meal of the festival and a fully booked restaurant. “Cooking gets me excited, I love doing it all the …

Embracing Diversity at Amicis with Chef Noor: Refugee Food Festival, Day 3, 21.06.2018

Amicis restaurant, tucked away in the maze of cobblestone streets near Plaza Mayor in the center of Madrid, was a welcoming refuge from the hot sun yesterday afternoon. Amicis is described as a place “to share food and drinks in a great environment with good friends,” and after spending only a few short minutes in its dining room I found this to be undoubtedly true. From the owner Maria who greeted me with a smile …

Samira’s Syrian Lunch: Refugee Food Festival Day 2, 20.06.2018

The first sight lunchtime diners got of Samira, their Syrian guest-chef for the afternoon, was in the occasional moments when she emerged from the kitchen a picture of calm control delivering her self-crafted cultural dishes to waiting tables with a humble smile, before disappearing again into the hot kitchen of her adopted workplace, Banibanoo. Her efforts signalled the second day and continued success of Madrid’s week-long Refugee Food Festival, co-organised by MFR and Chefugee. In …

Opening Night of Madrid Refugee Food Festival with Chef Pierre and El Mandela, 19.06.2018

At 10 pm last night, chef Pierre T. was still warmly greeting his guests, shaking their hands, and answering questions about various features of the dishes he had crafted for them. It had been a long day starting with an early morning ACNUR conference where he delivered a speech (and met Jesús Vazquez!), multiple interviews with the press, hours of prepping for the night’s sold-out dinner event, and finally putting the last touches on his …