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

Jun
29

Wesal and the Gigi team

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


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

Jun
27

Oscar and Rachida in the Ochenta Next Door kitchen

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


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

Jun
26

Valentín’s brunch buffet “hecho en Venezuela” (made in Venezuela)

“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:


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

Jun
24

All smiles at Barrutia y El 9

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


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

Jun
23

Ahmad and restaurant owner Stephane

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


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

Jun
22

The lovely and lively Amicis team

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


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

Jun
21

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


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

Jun
21

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


“Just throw yourself in!”: Benefit Hike and Yoga, 27.05.2018

Jun
13

“The trick is to just throw yourself in, don’t think about it!” This was the teasing advice a bobbing head gave the rest of us who were edging our way into the icy waters of Pantano de San Juan. While this guidance may have been needed by those venturing in for a dip, there was no need for it to be said with regards to


Campaigning to End the Exploitation of Domestic Workers in Lebanon: Documentary Screening, La Piscine, 30.05.2018

Jun
12

Image from: http://english.alarabiya.net/en/features/2017/01/31/Modernized-slavery-The-disturbing-truth-behind-Lebanon-s-domestic-help-abuse.html
Image from: http://english.alarabiya.net/en/features/2017/01/31/Modernized-slavery-The-disturbing-truth-behind-Lebanon-s-domestic-help-abuse.html

Ahmed Ali wants to make invisible people visible. “Their passports are confiscated when they arrive so they have absolutely no rights. Many work for 23 hours straight and have nowhere to sleep,” he tells a crowd of solemn listeners in alternating English and Spanish. “Sometimes they’re not even allowed to leave the house.” Ali is describing the plight