THE ANNUAL FESTIVAL
RESTAURANTS OPEN THEIR KITCHENS TO REFUGEE CHEFS, THE TIME OF A GOURMET AND SOLIDARY FESTIVAL.
The annual festival is a traveling citizen initiative which aims to promote talent and facilitate the integration of refugee cooks. The event takes place simultaneously in several cities around the world, around June 20th, the World Refugee Day.
So far, three editions have been organized, in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
2018 • AN INTERNATIONAL EDITION
For its 3rd edition, the Refugee Food Festival has spread to the United States and South Africa, and mobilized even more citizens, in 14 cities in 8 countries, closely accompanied by the founding team and relays UNHCR premises.
More than a hundred restaurants then entrusted their kitchens to refugee chefs, to change the way they look at this status and to discover flavors from elsewhere.
AMSTERDAM, ATHENS-LESBOS, BOLOGNA, BORDEAUX, BRUSSELS, CAPE TOWN, LILLE, LYON-OUCHES, MADRID, MARSEILLE, NEW YORK, PARIS, SAN FRANCISCO, STRASBOURG
2017 • A EUROPEAN EDITION
2017 marks the geographic spread of the festival, thanks to the methodological kit (made with the support of the UNHCR Innovation Unit), enabling citizens to develop the project. Thus, the project was established in 13 cities in 7 European countries (France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Greece) and mobilized thousands of citizens.
AMSTERDAM, ATHENS, BORDEAUX, BRUSSELS, FLORENCE, LILLE, LYON, MADRID, MARSEILLE, PARIS, STRASBOURG
2016 • A FIRST EDITION IN PARIS
In June 2016, for the first edition of the Refugee Food Festival, 12 restaurants and 8 refugee cooks participated. This was the beginning of a great adventure: the collaborations between chefs gave amazing dishes, hundreds of people hastened to book, and the guest refugee cooks found a part of dignity.
A few weeks later, dozens of European citizens contacted the founders to organize a Refugee Food Festival in their cities …
OUR ORGANISERS SAY IT BETTER
The Refugee Food Festival is a citizens’ led initiative which aims to show that civil society has a fundamental role to play in the way refugees are welcomed.
All organisers of the various Refugee Food Festival local editions are committed citizens who reached out to lead the project in their cities.
Marine Dupé, project holder, Bordeaux 2017
” The Refugee Food Festival is first and foremost about encounters, of course. It seems obvious when you say it, it is even more when you experience it. We were an itinerant and clumsy brigade, generous and fierce, talented and humble. They were my chefs and wherever they were going I went ahead, leading the way like the guard of honour they deserve. For several weeks, I had to nurture enthusiasm whilst tempering hopes, respecting – and having be respected – their stories, without ever trying to meddle in them. “
Kévin Yau, project holder, Marseille 2017
“The Refugee Food Festival is a formidable demonstration of solidarity. In Marseille, land of immigration, the 2017 edition was filled with emotional moments and exchanges. The festival made cooking the universal language for chefs, refugees, citizens and more to meet for the same cause. Our role as project holder was to make these encounters possible. As the son of a refugee myself, it was important for me to give a voice to people who are not heard enough. With the support of UNHCR and the Paris team, the festival helped give the best platform for them to demonstrate their talents.”
Barthélémy Marsac, project holder, Lille 2017
” The Refugee Food Festival in Lille was a first ever as far as this type of experiences goes. Refugee chefs and restaurant owners all answered the call. As co-organiser of the first edition in Lille, the first real challenge was to get in touch with refugee chefs, with the help of local associations and a few personal contacts. For restaurant owners and their teams, this experience was about culinary encounters, about broadening their cuisine whilst respecting their usual ways. For the refugee chefs, the festival was an opportunity to show their talents and to learn new skills.”
The annual Refugee Food Festival is a citizens’ led initiative created by Food Sweet Food and co-organised with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).