Leah Rosenthal, Advancement Officer | Hamilton | February 21, 2017 | DeGroote School of Business, McMaster University
Imagine packing up only what you can carry. Imagine fleeing a war-torn country and landing as a refugee in Canada.
Now picture a kitchen. The different smells, the cacophony of sounds. There is laughter, there is sharing, there community in this kitchen. There is healing.
Newcomer Kitchen invites Syrian refugee women to cook a weekly meal and socialize. The meals are then sold, and the proceeds shared among the cooks. Currently there are 59 women enrolled in the program.
The initiative, which began at The Depannuer in Toronto, is working to create a model that can be replicated with any newcomer group, in any restaurant, in any city in the world. What began as a safe space for women to cook and prepare meals for their families – many of whom were living in hotel rooms without access to a full kitchen – has now transitioned into a way for those women to make money.
Newcomer Kitchen has already been covered by Time and the Huffington Post, and the relatively new start-up had the pleasure of hosting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when he broke bread with several Syrian newcomers on the first anniversary of their arrival in Canada. With a second Toronto location opening in May 2017, Newcomer Kitchen has big hopes for what it can accomplish in the near future.