A project to make The Dep’s kitchen available to Syrian refugee families

Canada : bienvenue aux réfugiés | Arte (France)


Alors que l’Europe, confrontée à une crise migratoire sans précédent, surveille ses frontières, le Canada, lui, organise le plus grand pont aérien de son histoire.

De Mathieu Bana, François Reinhardt et Yann Le Gléau – ARTE GEIE / What’s Up Productions – France 2016

En moins de trois mois, 25000 réfugiés syriens sont accueillis. Emmenées par le gouvernement de Justin Trudeau, les autorités dépêchent 600 fonctionnaires dans les camps de réfugiés au Liban, en Turquie et en Jordanie.

Hérité des années 70, le système des parrainages privés fait appel à la générosité populaire. Une mesure qui autorise les Canadiens à parrainer eux-mêmes les réfugiés. Pendant un an, sans aide sociale, les parrains s’engagent à trouver un logement, inscrire les enfants à l’école et subvenir aux besoins des familles.

Dans tout le pays, les intitatives se multiplient, le multiculturalisme, inscrit dans la constitution canadienne, prend tout son sens. Une exception dans cette partie du monde : le Canada pratique l’immigration choisie, vérifie l’identité de ceux qu’il accueille et détermine le moment de leur arrivée.

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Newcomer Kitchen is featured at 19:00m

Newcomer Kitchen expands with a new Syrian pop-up brunch, prepared by refugees | NOW Magazine

After the success of The Depanneur’s weekly dinners, Mirvish Village developer Westbank steps up to sponsor a Syrian brunch event at Butler’s Pantry


“Instead of just selling your last sandwich, why not go down in a Thelma and Louise blaze of glory?”

That was the pitch to Atique Azad, the proprietor of the Butler’s Pantry, a 25-year old Mirvish Village institution set to close at the end of 2016 to make way for the development replacing Honest Ed’s.

He thought, “what have I got to lose?” And just like that, Canada’s first Syrian Brunch Pop-Up was born. And it’s a hot ticket. December 4 is already sold out.

It’s the first official spin-off from Toronto’s Newcomer Kitchen, a project co-founded by Cara Benjamin-Pace and Len Senater at College Street’s The Depanneur that specializes in unique food experiences. Since April, more than 55 Syrian newcomer women have cooked a wide range of traditional dishes, and in the process, put over $25,000 directly into Toronto’s newcomer community.

Because each weekly dinner consistently sold out, the next challenge was to tackle Toronto’s most iconic meal: Sunday Brunch. After months of testing, tinkering and tasting, what may be the first Syrian Brunch Pop-Up in the world is ready to be experienced by a handful of lucky Torontonians.

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Syrian refugees build community with cooking | THIS Magazine

Photo by J. Walton

Photo by J. Walton

Behind the scenes at the Newcomer Kitchen and Karam Kitchen in Ontario

by Amanda Scriver | 

It has been nearly one year since the Liberal government enacted a program to admit 25,000 Syrian refugees arrived in Canada. In their first year, many of the families faced several challenges to overcome: getting to know a brand new country, finding suitable accommodations, and trying to find a job in our country’s tough economic climate, all while facing systemic racism upon arrival. The resettlement process is not easy, and many are still trying to find their way here in Canada. While the Canadian government and private sponsors have helped—offering financial assistance, medical coverage, and housing—the biggest challenge many Syrians have faced is finding community.

Toronto’s Newcomer Kitchen helps Syrian refugees adjust, share culture — Free Speech Radio News


by Tanya Castle

Asma Al Hariri chops zucchini in a downtown Toronto kitchen. She is one of a dozen Syrian women preparing tonight’s Newcomer Kitchen meal. The dish: Sheikh El Mahshi Bil Laban, a traditional Levantine recipe consisting of zucchini stuffed with beef, cooked in a yogurt sauce thickened with eggs and seasoned with garlic and mint, accompanied by Egyptian rice.

Restaurant and culinary incubator The Depanneur hosts the Newcomer Kitchen. The initiative started out as a space for Syrian women to prepare home-cooked meals for their families while they were stuck in hotels upon arrival in Toronto and has since grown into a weekly take-out restaurant.

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Newcomer Kitchen on CBC Cross Country Checkup with Duncan McCue

Are we giving newcomers enough support to build a new life in Canada? — CBC Cross Country Checkup with Duncan McCue

Many Syrian refugees fled to Canada in the hope of a better life. The challenges are daunting: finding a home, a job, learning a new language …and a new culture. Are we giving newcomers enough support to build a new life in Canada?

They arrived in Canada fleeing war-ravaged Syria, a conflict that has displaced millions of men, women and children. It was the image of one dead child on a beach that spurred Canadians to action and now we have taken in 31,000 Syrian refugees. Soon the year will be up for the first wave of newcomers and their monthly government cheques will stop. Immigration and settlement workers call it “the crisis of the 13th month.”

As the excitement of escaping to a new country fades, how is the transition going? What are the challenges and the joys? Checkup visited one of Canada’s most diverse cities, Mississauga, Ont., to find out and hear some of those stories first hand.

Our question today: Are we giving newcomers enough support to build a new life in Canada?


Cooking Up Opportunities for Refugee Women | City Lab


Cooking Up Opportunities for Refugee Women

Through cuisine, Toronto’s Newcomer Kitchen fosters economic and social relationships for Syrian immigrants.

LISA FERGUSON @LisaFergieTO Sep 1, 2016

Practiced hands press layers of finely shredded phyllo pastry into baking sheets. Others follow with spoonfuls of ricotta cheese. Once baked, the knafeh Nabulsia will be drenched in orange blossom syrup and sprinkled with pistachio. “It’s always good to know how to cook something traditional,” says Majda Khalil, one of the bakers and a Syrian refugee. “It reminds you of home.”

The dessert prepped, six women crowd around a map, showing each other where home was before war ravaged Syria.

Len Senater is used to inviting strangers into his kitchen. It’s the business model of The Depanneur, Senater’s eatery and community hub housed in an old convenience store just west of Toronto’s downtown. For five years he’s been inviting strangers to come, make their favorite food, and sell it to the community.


Newcomer Kitchen at The Depanneur — Edible Toronto

Newcomer Kitchen at The Depanneur

Building Community for Syrian Refugees

I walked into The Depanneur on an uncharacteristically balmy day in early June. Maybe it was because spring weather had been sparse this year, but the sunshine and the heat of the afternoon permeated in a visceral manner. It signaled a season of renewal. People were smiling at one another while passing by on the street. Toronto had emerged from its winter shell, physically and emotionally.

The sunlight careened through the broad northwest-facing windows of the community kitchen-cum-restaurant-cum-social hub. The warmth inside was not just a product of the heat. The atmosphere at The Depanneur that Thursday afternoon was incubative.

At the periphery of the gathered group were young children dancing on tables, holding their fathers’ hands for support, while others were doing arts and crafts or napping in their strollers. A documentary film crew circled the perimeter, discussing shot angles in hushed tones. Several apron-clad women with nametags casually but methodically delegated tasks, balancing between clear directives and spur-of-the-moment decisions.


Syrian refugee women cooking up a business in Toronto — Metro Toronto

Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 9.49.20 AM

Young recent Syrian migrant Jury Musri eats watermelon during a break in the preparation of a typical Syrian meal at a community kitchen in Toronto on Thursday July 7, 2016. The Newcomer Kitchen Project is an initiative for recent Syrian migrant women, organized by Len Senater and Cara Benjamin-Pace at the Depanneur restaurant in Toronto.

Walk into the Depanneur, a restaurant and gathering-place in Toronto, on any Thursday, and you’ll be hit with savoury and distinctly Syrian smells like kibbeh (bulgur balls with spiced lamb), Khyar belaban (cucumber-mint dip), or Torab el Melook (a trifle-like concoction of pineapple, custard and crumbled cookies).

You’ll also see around 10 Syrian women — from 20-somethings with babes in arms to grandmothers — busily making and packaging gourmet meals.

They’re part of a project called the Newcomer Kitchen. It got its modest start in April after Len Senater, The Depanneur’s owner, learned government-sponsored Syrian refugees were cooped up in crowded hotels…

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