It’s World Refugee Day today, and while our country has been exceptionally piss-poor in terms of the refugee crisis and there is absolutely nothing to celebrate on that front – there are ways we can celebrate refugees that have managed to re-settle in our very vast country.
Around Australia, cafes and restaurants have been popping up over the years that employ refugees with culinary skills, allowing them to use their skills to get on their feet financially, and providing them with stable work and a future in Australia.
Oh, and they make DAMN good food/drink, as well. Here are some of the best around Oz.
ADI’S KITCHEN – SYDNEY
Part of Four Brave Women, an initiative of The Trading Circle that works to empower refugees to be able to operate and grow their own small business in an inclusive and well-supported environment, Adi’s Kitchen serves a mean Fair Trade coffee, as well as Ethiopian breakfast and lunch in Summer Hill, part of Sydney’s Inner-West.
MAZI MAS – NATIONWIDE
This pop-up restaurant hosts events in different city locations each year, which provide training and employment opportunities for long term unemployed migrant, refugee and asylum seeker women who have work rights in Australia. It’s a not for profit social enterprise, and while there are no events on the horizon currently, you can keep up to date via this link.
LONG STREET COFFEE – MELBOURNE
Husband and wife team Francois and Jane created Long Street Coffee off the back of a crowdfunding campaign. As passionate supporters of asylum seekers rights, they chose to employ refugees – many of whom have not yet worked in Australia.
MU’OOZ – BRISBANE
This Eritrean (Eritrea is near Sudan and Yemen) restaurant in West End, Brisbane has been in existence for 10 years, and is a social enterprise that was started by a group of refugee women from the war-torn country. They provide employment and traineeships for African refugee women, and so far have helped over 160 with work experience and opportunities.
LENTIL AS ANYTHING – SYDNEY
A long-standing institution in Newtown, Lentil As Anything has a pay-as-you-feel policy, and their menu changes constantly, reflecting different cuisines from around the globe. They offer up-skilling opportunities to refugees, as well as the underemployed, the homeless, and the disenfranchised.
ALMOND BAR – SYDNEY
Syrian sisters Carol and Sharon Salloum started Almond Bar after growing up in a family that was centred around hospitality. Their restaurant reflects their family values of inclusion, and they’re committed to educating and training Syrian refugees, finding employment for them, and helping them to feel welcome in Australia.
விருந்து TAMIL FEASTS – MELBOURNE
This social enterprise supports recently settled asylum seekers, serving up traditional Sri Lankan fare prepared by Tamil men currently seeking asylum in Australia. They happen thrice-weekly in Brunswick East, and feature mouth-watering curries, chutneys, vadai, dahl, and masalas.
PARLIAMENT ON KING – SYDNEY
This Erskineville restaurant and catering service champions refugees and asylum seekers – for six weeks at a time they use their space and all its facilities to train asylum seekers and refugees in the basics of running and working in a café including basic hospitality job skills, food preparation, food hygiene and service.