The highly anticipated Irish Refugee Food Festival will begin this month, with four Galway restaurants and food businesses taking part in the festival.
The four Galway businesses will join 12 other restaurants across Ireland in welcoming new chefs to their kitchens to showcase their skills and their culinary heritage in a series of events, culminating in welcome dinners.
The welcome dinners will take place on 20 June in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin and Kinsale Road Direct Provision Centre, Cork.
“Despite the difficult and tragic circumstances in which people flee, we should not forget that refugees bring skills and talents to their new homes” said Enda O’Neill, Head of Office with UNHCR Ireland.
“With their right to work set to be introduced for asylum-seekers, the Refugee Food Festival aims to connect people with employers that are eager for their experience and know-how.”
Over 270 refugees and asylum-seekers are invited to a welcome dinner for refugees in St Patrick’s Cathedral on 20 June.
Meanwhile, award-winning chef Jess Murphy of Kai Restaurant will cook alongside five residents of Kinsale Road Direct Provision Centre on the same date.
Kinsale Road is one of the first direct provision centres in Ireland to introduce self-catering, one of the key recommendations of the 2015 McMahon report.
According to Murphy, Irish restaurants need 7,000 staff, many of whom may be in Ireland’s new communities:
“This month we are all showing through our kitchens how much we need people in there working.
“There is a massive chef shortage in Ireland and by having our peers from other countries in working, prepping and cooking food, we are filling positions where there is a real shortage of skilled staff.
“On top of this we are all learning from each other, experiencing real food culture in the kitchen. That is only going to benefit us all. This is happening in 16 locations across Ireland, and it is a very positive thing,” she said.
The following restaurants and food business will participate in the refugee food festival: Eastern Seaboard, Drogheda; Heron & Grey, Dublin; 3fe, Dublin; Five Points, Dublin; Cloud Picker Coffee in The Science Gallery, Dublin; Seasons, Guinness Storehouse, Dublin; Bean and Goose, Ferns; Loam, Galway; Kai, Galway; Miyazaki, Cork; The Tannery, Dungarvan; Dela, Galway; Café Rua, Castlebar; Pudding Row, Easkey; Shell’s, Sligo; Sheridan’s Cheesemongers, Dublin and Galway; and FoodSpace operated restaurants and cafes, nationwide.