Refugee Food Festival Hosted in Cape Town.

This week Cape Town joined the global Refugee Food Festival with its own hosted events,  see Refugee Food Festival ✱ Cape Town ✱ 2018. Inviting talented refugee chefs to cook in local restaurants, the express aim was to raise awareness about the challenges faced by misplaced refugees around the world. Celebrating cultural diversity through food, more than 100 restaurants throughout Europe participated last year, with Cape Town the first African city to host the event, there were 15 amazing chefs and 10 restaurants on board.

The Refugee Food Festival

The Refugee Food Festival is a culinary project which embraces the universal power of food and has the aim of accomplishing three missions: ‘CHANGE people’s perception of refugees by highlighting the talents and culinary heritage of refugee chefs from all over the world. ACCELERATE professional insertion with the help of a committed community of restaurant owners and the support of civil society. MOBILISE civil society at the dinner table, universal place of inter-cultural exchanges, through the discovery of the best world cuisines.’

“Cooking makes it possible to go beyond status, to discover other people’s worlds, by sharing what is both most singular and most universal.”

The Refugee Food Festival takes place every year around June 20th, the date of World Refugee Day. It all started with an idea from two citizens and founders of the Food Sweet Food association who were convinced that food is a universal way to communicate and a powerful tool for bringing together and uniting different cultures. The idea is to create collaborations between professionals from the food industry who happen to be refugees, and host-restaurants.

In June 2016 in Paris, 11 restaurants and 8 refugee chefs took part in the first project. It was the beginning of a great adventure: people met, culinary collaborations gave rise to yet unseen cuisine, hundreds of clients rushed to book the restaurants, and the refugee chefs found a sense of dignity and respect in their new home. A few weeks later dozens of people got in touch with the project’s founders wanting to bring the Refugee Food Festival to their cities.

In 2017, the Refugee Food Festival took place all around Europe with support from the UNHCR (the United Nations Refugee Agency). The founding association Food Sweet Food, developed a methodology kit to guide others wanting to organise a local Refugee Food Festival. For its second edition, the project found new roots in 13 cities from 7 European countries and touched thousands of people, giving the festival an even warmer welcome.

The Refugee Food Festival in 2018

For its 3rd edition, the Refugee Food Festival opened its doors to the US, Canada and South Africa, encouraging even more citizens who were closely guided by the founding members and local UNHCR offices, to keep on developing the project, from Montreal to Cape Town, from London to Bologna, Brussels and Paris.


Vegetarian East African cooking with Chef Jane and Chef Ibrahim

I was lucky enough, by invitation of Hot Oven Marketing to join Ginger & Lime food studio’s Vegetarian East African cooking class with guest Chefs Jane from Rwanda, and Ibrahim from Somalia. As a vegetarian, this was perfect for me and the interactive cooking classes allowed each of us to participate and fully immerse ourselves in the creation of each dish while learning about the background and culture that inspired the Chefs. We chopped onions and cabbage, stirred bubbling pots, rolled chapati and with many ‘ooohs and aaahhs’ breathed in the incredible aromas and flavours.  Even walking away with the recipes, which I’m delighted to add to my plant based repertoire.

Chef Ibrahim of Somalia and Chef Jane from Rwanda

For more information take a look at and connect on their Facebook page and Facebook event. There are still a few more events this week, or stay in touch for the bigger, better and even more heartwarming 2019 edition.

*** With warmest thanks to Mira Weiner of Hot Oven Marketing who knew exactly how much I would love this soul food evening x.

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Dawn Bradnick Jorgensen
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