Newcomer Kitchen – Communication Basics

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The outpouring of support for this project has been incredible and overwhelming! Our team is working hard to be able to do this again ASAP, and to keep everyone in the loop.

To start we have set up some basic online resources for those who want to stay up-to-date on this project, or who may want to support it further once we figure out our next steps.

There is now a Facebook Group you can join:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/NewcomerKitchen/

A mailing list where you can add your email:
http://eepurl.com/bYqCnj

Or you can follow it on Twitter or Instagram @newcomerkitchen

Direct inquires can be sent to newcomerkitchen@thedepanneur.ca

We will continue posting to the website, you can check in on updates here:
https://thedepanneur.ca/category/newcomerkitchen/

Newcomer Kitchen at Terroir Symposium 

Monday was an exciting milestone for Newcomer Kitchen, as we offered samples of traditional Syrian dishes to more than 600 attendees of the Terroir Hospitality Symposium at the AGO, one of the most prestigious food conferences in North America. It was an incredible reminder of just how far we have come in barely over a year — from no kitchens at all, to serving food alongside many of the best chefs in Canada. Thank you to everyone at Terroir for the invitation, and to all of our supporters who made this possible.

Newcomer Kitchen: How Syrian refugee women are cooking their way to success | DeGroote School of Business, McMaster University

Newcomer Kitchen: How Syrian refugee women are cooking their way to success

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.

READ MORE »

How Syrian Refugee Women Are Using Food to Fight President Trump | TIME

How Syrian Refugee Women Are Using Food to Fight President Trump

Mahita Gajanan | Feb 14, 2017 | TIME Magazine

“We want to celebrate that they hold the ancient knowledge of one of the oldest cuisines in the world,” co-founder Cara Benjamin-Pace said. “Our goal is not to train these women into line workers in the food industry. Our goal is to bring them together and celebrate them as women and in the community.”

Dyana Aljizawi had spent three days cooking more than two dozen traditional Syrian dishes — rice pilaf, hummus, salad, baba ganoush, roast chicken legs and more — and she was exhausted.

It was a busy night for the 20-year-old refugee from Syria, who was the center of attention at a gathering of the Syria Supper Club, a group dedicated to welcoming refugees through meals.

Aljizawi is one of many refugee women from Syria who have connected with their new homes and earned money by cooking and sharing traditional food with neighbors in the U.S. and Canada. Through the Syria Supper Club, the women profit from making buffet-style dinners for the specific cause of pushing back against Islamophobia and xenophobia which they say was exacerbated by President Donald Trump’s election.

“I’m afraid to go outside because, with the current political climate and Trump, I’m afraid we’ll be sent home, back to a war zone,” Aljizawi, who now lives in New Jersey with her husband, said. “The U.S. is very nice, it’s very beautiful, but we’ve gone through a lot of pain here.”

READ MORE »

A Taste of Home | Investors Group

A Taste of Home

by Alex Mlynek | January

Newcomer Kitchen gives Syrian refugee women an opportunity to share their food culture with Canada.

Len Senater heard that many Syrian refugees who came to Canada were living in hotels and had no kitchens to make their own food. He did have a kitchen and wanted to provide a space where Syrian refugee women could cook.

Between sips of tea in glasses, some enhanced by fresh mint leaves, roughly a dozen Syrian refugee women prepare malfouf: cabbage rolls stuffed with halal ground beef, rice, spices and a few dashes of pomegranate molasses. These refugees, many of whom have been in Canada only a few months, spend the day cooking together in a Toronto storefront for 50 people who have preordered their meals. Between stirring steaming pots and searching for tender cabbage leaves, they show each other photos of family members on their smartphones, tell stories and debate the best way to make their dishes. It all takes place at the Newcomer Kitchen, a weekly event where up to a dozen Syrian women gather together to cook meals from home.

Last spring, Len Senater, owner of the Depanneur, a space that hosts pop-up food events in Toronto’s West End, heard that many Syrian refugees who came to Canada were living in hotels and had no kitchens to make their own food. He did have a kitchen and wanted to provide a space where Syrian refugee women could cook. Although he didn’t speak Arabic or have any connections with the community, he did have a group of volunteers who wanted to help. One of them connected him with Rahaf Alakbani, 25, and her husband Esmaeel Abofakher, 29, who had come to Canada as refugees from Syria in February. The couple then found a group of women who wanted to cook, and brought them to the Depanneur.

“There was a language barrier and a culture barrier,” says Senater, “but Cara [Benjamin-Pace, the Newcomer Kitchen’s executive director] and I bought a bunch of random ingredients, and when the women arrived, we said: ‘Why don’t you just cook something?’ They were like, ‘Really? You want us to do the cooking?’” After he answered “yes,” they took over the kitchen.

READ MORE »

SOFRA DAYMA — a special evening in support of Newcomer Kitchen

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Thursday, Dec. 22 | Gladstone Hotel

The Syrian women of Newcomer Kitchen invite you to celebrate their remarkable accomplishments of this extraordinary year.

In only a few short months, Newcomer Kitchen has invited over 55 Syrian newcomer women to collaborate with local restaurants to create transformative social and economic opportunities. Despite growing momentum and demand, the absence of dedicated funding keeps the future of the project precariously uncertain.

To truly realize the profound impact of this idea — a model that can help unlock the potential of any community, in any kitchen, in any city — Newcomer Kitchen needs the support of courageous and visionary people like you.

Please join us at Sofra Dayma, on Thursday, December 22, at the beautiful Gladstone Hotel for a truly unforgettable dining experience — a sumptuous banquet of traditional Syrian cuisine — with some very special guests and a unique auction of private, in-home catered dinners prepared by some of our most talented cooks.
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Cedar Cocktail Reception
Melody Bar | 5–7 PM | $100
Includes a welcome aperitif, traditional Syrian hors d’oeuvres, with performances by Syrian and local musicians, and special guests

Pomegranate Dinner
North Ballroom | 7–9:30 PM | $300
A sumptuous banquet of traditional Syrian cooking, with special entertainment and a unique auction

Cedar Cocktail Reception + Pomegranate Dinner
5–9:30 PM | $350
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Share the Experience

Pomegranate Dinner
Table of 6 | 7–9:30 PM | $1750

Cedar Cocktail Reception + Pomegranate Dinner
Table of 6 | 5–9:30 PM | $2000
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Donate in Honour of Sofra Dayma
If you are unable to attend, and would like to make a donation in support of Newcomer Kitchen, please select “Donation” ticket type.
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Individual tickets available for purchase online via Eventbrite.

To purchase packages, or for more details please contact
Serra Erdem at serra@newcomerkitchen.ca or 416.920.7995
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For more information about Newcomer Kitchen

Newcomer Kitchen: how Syrian refugees took over a Toronto restaurant | The Guardian

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Monday, Dec. 12, 2016

When Canada pledged to take 25,000 refugees fleeing war in the Middle East, one restaurateur in Toronto opened his doors, giving a group of Syrian women the opportunity to cook for the community, spread the wealth of their home country’s cuisines – and find new purpose in a strange city.

Watch the video

Syrian refugees in Canada face uncertain financial future | Al Jazeera English

Published on Dec 11, 2016
A year ago the first group of Syrian refugees was welcomed into Canada and given 12 months of federal financial assistance.

Cook for Syria by Slow Food Toronto and Newcomer Kitchen | Dec 10

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In honor of Terra Madre Day – Slow Food International’s day to promote the diversity of food traditions around the world — Slow Food Toronto is proud to announce that we are partnering with The Depanneur and Newcomer Kitchen to host an event in celebration of Syrian food. It’s also a day that explores how the Slow Food movement can use its creativity and knowledge to express love for the planet and defend the future for the next generations.

A very special thank you to 100km Foods and The Big Carrot for sponsoring this event!

Tickets are $60 for Slow Food Toronto Members and $70 for non-members.
We are encouraging people to purchase tickets soon if they are interested in attending this unique event.

>> PURCHASE HERE <<

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Starter ~ Fattoush فتوش  |  Fattayer Jibneh فطاير جبنة

Fattoush is a popular Levantine salad made using toasted or fried pieces of pita bread combined with mixed greens, fresh vegetables like tomatoes, cucumber and radish, but varies according to season and region. Mint and parsley lend a freshness and fragrance, and dried sumac (the same staghorn sumac that grows here in Ontario) gives the olive oil-based dressing a distinctive tangy flavour. (#vegetarian, can be #GF)

Fatayer are a whole category delicious small baked treats that range from open-face, pizza-like flatbreads to cute little baked turnovers, with countless different shapes and fillings. Tonight will feature a cheese fatayer, as well as a vegan options such as muhamarra (spicy red pepper) or zataar (thyme and sesame).

The Main ~ El Maldoum ملضوم  |   Khyar belaban خيار بلبن

Maldoum can be found in kitchens from Turkey to Lebanon; this is a more rustic, countryside version of of the dish, that adds green peppers, tomatoes and potatoes, which are traditionally arranged in attractive layered patterns in a large shallow round pan before baking. A meat and vegetarian version will be served alongside a combination of short-grain rice and fried vermicelli noodles. This dish will be served with Khyar Belaban. Much like tzatziki, it’s well-known Greek cousin, this combines cool yogurt with garlic and cucumbers, but the addition of mint makes for an especially cool and refreshing salad.

Dessert ~ Harissa هريسة  |  Figs & Dates with Tahini and Grape Molasses

A relative of Namoura or Babousa, Harissa is one of the region’s many delicious syrup-soaked semolina cakes. This one doesn’t use yogurt, but rather tahini, giving an extra rich and nutty flavour. A traditional selection of dried figs stuffed with walnuts, and dates stuffed with almonds will also be served, with tahini & grape molasses for dipping.

Tea and Coffee

 

People In Toronto Are Lining Up For Brunch At A Pop-Up Restaurant Run By Syrian Refugees | SAVEUR

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People in Toronto are lining up for brunch at a pop-up restaurant run by Syrian refugees

By Katherine Whittaker | December 9, 2016 |  saveur.com

“This is an incredibly ancient culinary tradition,” he says, which means that giving these women an outlet to cook and continue practicing their culture is all the more important. “What happens to all that accumulated cultural knowledge and wisdom if there isn’t a place where they can showcase regional differences…it’s important that they are allowed to continue.”

Get your ticket for a meal at Newcomer Kitchen before it sells out

The hottest new brunch in Toronto doesn’t come from a Michelin-starred restaurant, and it doesn’t feature a trendy pastry mashup. It’s a pop-up staffed by Syrian refugees.

Filmmaker Kelli Kieley has been documenting Newcomer Kitchen since she met its co-founder, Len Senater, earlier this year at the project’s beginning planning stages. “At the time it was just such a beautiful story,” she said. “I just started going, and I didn’t know exactly how amazing this project was going to be, but I knew that it was beautiful, and it has been growing so quickly.”

When Senater heard about the growing refugee population in Toronto, his first thought was about their kitchens. How could they cook for themselves, he wondered, if they were staying in hotels for weeks or months? Senater, who founded event and kitchen space The Depanneur, thought that he could give them access to a kitchen so they could cook for themselves and their families. “We invited these ladies, and they cooked this amazing food,” he said.

READ MORE »

Newcomer Kitchen : intégrer les réfugiés syriens, un repas à la fois | CBC Radio-Canada

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Newcomer Kitchen : intégrer les réfugiés syriens, un repas à la fois

by Jonathan Bouchard | Mardi 6 Décembre 2016 | Radio-Canada

Ça leur permet d’utiliser et de montrer leurs talents et de redonner à leur communauté d’accueil.

Le Newcomer Kitchen est une initiative torontoise qui facilite l’intégration des réfugiés syriens par le biais de la nourriture. Malgré les succès du projet, les organisateurs peinent à rendre le projet autosuffisant.

Une fois par semaine, des réfugiés syriens se rassemblent dans la cuisine du Dépanneur, un espace culinaire à l’ouest du centre-ville de Toronto. Sur place, le groupe prépare des mets typiques de leur pays.