In this blog post, Senior Producer Nicola discusses the journey that Global Kitchen has undergone, from the seed of an idea to a fully developed project in need of funding - read on for more.
Global Kitchen is a project close to my heart. It’s been a few years since Christina Wigmore (Soft Touch Arts) and I sat around a table and began talking about aspirations to do a project that helped to connect people from different countries and cultures together through sharing recipes, cooking and eating together.
It’s always been part of the plan to produce a recipe book to share all of the amazing dishes too. In those early days, we bought Linton, a wonderful 6ft+ Zimbabwean chef on board (who at the time was seeking asylum in Leicester) on board and Global Kitchen was born.
Over the years, we have run Global Kitchen sessions on an ad-hoc basis, when we’ve been awarded small pots of funding to support the running of the sessions, and when we have had the resources available to deliver them – usually in line with our annual Journeys Festival International event here in Leicester. Linton has gone from strength to strength, has gained food hygiene qualifications, received his refugee status (leave to remain) and is in full time paid employment as a chef. He still comes back to lead the Global Kitchen sessions though, as he’s been there from the start, and in his own words ‘just loves it and wants to give back to those who have supported him’.
In a nut shell, Global Kitchen is a project which hosts and trains volunteer chefs from the refugee and asylum seeker community to share home country recipes and cooking skills with their local community through free (vegetarian) participatory meals. But it does so much more than this! Until you’ve been to one of our events, you can’t really get the full picture…but I will try to give you a sense…
You’re welcomed into Soft Touch Arts by a group of friendly volunteer chefs, who have all been busily preparing vegetables and fresh ingredients ready for your arrival. You’ll have an introduction to what’s in store from Linton, who’s larger than life persona immediately puts everyone at ease.
Then you’ll be invited to don an apron and go into the kitchen to help prepare culinary delights from across the globe, working alongside the volunteer chefs from whom the recipes have originated. Recipes passed down through generations, traditional dishes with intriguing names, ingredients you’ve never used before… You’ll learn about other cultures, languages and family traditions, you’ll chop, marinate and stir bubbling pots… You’ll be served up a plate full of different dishes, all lovingly and collaboratively prepared and you’ll all sit down to eat together and you’ll find yourself deep in thoughtful conversation with someone you would never have otherwise met. And did I mention the events are FREE?
Sounds nice, doesn’t it? We would love to be able to run bi-monthly Global Kitchen events throughout 2020 and to finally achieve our dream of producing a Global Cookery Book.
If you’d like to join us, please pledge your support at www.spacehive.com/global-kitchen. We would be delighted to welcome you into the Global Kitchen!