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Four award-winning, Irish-based, foreign-born chefs hosted a dinner with their Syrian refugee counterparts, to highlight the universal and democratic power of the table
Four foreign-born, Irish-based chefs with a group of Syrian refugee chefs created a Far-Fetched Dinner in Loam Restaurant in Galway on Sunday October 29th. Chefs Damien Grey, Takashi Miyazaki, Jess Murphy and Louise Bannon cooked a five-course dinner with three Syrian colleagues, chefs Mhd Ahyam Orabi and Ahmad Orabi and baker Amer Marai on Sunday.
The sell-out dinner was generously supported by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and by some of the exceptional producers that the four chefs use in their own restaurants on a daily basis. Guests were treated to a menu created by the adopted Irish and their Syrian colleagues served with matching wines provided by Shane Murphy of Findlater Wines. The night also welcomed the music from the Galway Ukulele Orchestra and documenting of the evening by Heavy Man Films.
With a chronic shortage of chefs in the Irish hospitality industry, this was an opportunity for refugee chefs to flex their kitchen muscles. They also get to share their particular knowledge, expertise and skills to the benefit both of the four cooks sharing their kitchen, and of dinner guests on the night.
The Far-Fetched Dinner was the first of its type, and UNHCR plans to work on further initiatives in the future.
“When we think of the many things refugees bring with them to their new countries, we often forget that they also bring their talents and skills too.
Sunday’s event shows the huge potential that exists in allowing refugee to use those skills to rebuild their lives and contribute to the communities they have adopted as their new home,” explained Enda O’Neill of UNHCR Ireland.
All monies raised from the dinner will go towards education and training. The Far-Fetched Dinner in conjunction with GMIT have together established three funded scholarships in catering, specially designated for young chefs in direct provision. Training them in food, hospitality and chef skills, this means this joint dinner is not just a one-off, but an event with a real and lasting impact.”
“We are immigrants too, but we didn’t have to seek refuge here to escape a conflict,” Jess Murphy said, explaining that the idea for the night came about in conversation with Grey. “We were talking about how we may represent Irish food, but what about the future in a changing Ireland? We were also talking about the shortage of chefs, and about how there are skilled chefs seeking asylum here.”
Sunday night was really special and showcased how food and creativity brings people together. WE live in a changing Ireland and integration, realm integration with people and in communities is how we can all make Ireland a brilliant place to live, work and enjoy life, “Jess explained.
Cáit Noone, Vice President of International Engagement and Head of the Galway International School said “The Galway International Hotel School is delighted and proud to support this wonderful initiative led by Ireland’s finest culinary leaders. In GMIT we are proud of our diverse and multi-cultural community and recognise the burden in which families in direct provision are placed. Some of our students and lecturers will support this special dinner. In addition, the school is developing a short accredited course in professional cooking skills for those in direct provision. This will equip them with Irish food safety knowledge and enhanced cooking skills ensuring they are ready to join the workplace as and when such restrictions are lifted.”
Kai Restaurant named among Top 20 most sustainable food businesses
Kai Restaurant has been named on the shortlist for the most sustainable food service business. Restaurants from Denmark, Ireland, France and the United States are vying with 14 of the UK’s finest for the Food Made Good Business 2017 award which will be presented to the restaurant or food service business that has received the highest Food Made Good rating from the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) in the last year, at the Food Made Good Awards, on 5th October.
Kai Restaurant is named alongside Neighbours, Loam in Galway, and Relæ in Copenhagen, both Michelin starred, on the list of the Top 20 rated businesses in 2017, also Bæst and Mirabelle, Copenhagen, The Bay Fish & Chips, in Stonehaven, The Wheatsheaf at Chilton Foliat, Gourmet Goat from Borough Market, FoodOnCampus at the University of Manchester as well as Cookery School at Little Portland Street and London workplace caterer Vacherin.
Poco, which won the award in 2016 for its Broadway Market site, is in the running this year for its original Bristol tapas restaurant. The full Top 20 is listed below.
Andrew Stephen, Chief Executive of the SRA, said: “These 20 businesses prove that it’s possible to serve creative, delicious and sustainable food in any setting, whether fine dining, pub grub or college café. They should all serve as an inspiration to the whole sector to serve food that not only tastes good but does good too.”
SRA President Raymond Blanc OBE and Vice President Prue Leith will present the 17 Food Made Good Awards at a special ceremony on 5th October at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Lindley Hall where Raymond Blanc is also curating the lunch to be served to the 300 guests.
The Food Made Good Awards recognise restaurants and food service businesses whose accomplishments in the last year have driven progress in the industry and demonstrated that all food can be made delicious, ethical and sustainable.
The SRA has updated its Food Made Good rating in 2017 and assesses businesses on their policies, operations and influence across ten key actions which define what a ‘good’ restaurant or foodservice business should do.
We as in GALWAY are battling it out against 9 other places in Ireland… we need your vote to showcase that as we already all know west is best and Galway is Class!