Food & Drink

Migrant chef cookery school scoops prize at Urban Food Awards

A Brixton-based cookery school led by migrant chefs has been recognised at the 2020 Urban Food Awards.

Migrateful is a charity which helps vulnerable refugees, migrants and asylum seekers struggling to integrate and find employment due to legal and linguistic barriers.

The Urban Food Awards recognised the work of the migrant charity by giving them the Food for Good Champions award.

A charity spokesperson said: “The Urban Food Awards have been great as they have given the charity even more exposure.”

The Food for Good Champions is an award which highlights the work of Londoners who use food to bring communities together to celebrate diversity and to further social integration. 

Founder and English teacher Jessica Thompson started the school in 2017 following discussions with her students, a group of refugees from Tower Hamlets. 

Despite being extremely qualified they were struggling to find jobs due to language barriers and because their qualifications were not recognised in the UK. 

Thompson was inspired to establish Migrateful after asking her students to bring in a recipe from their country to help practice their English vocabulary. 

Thomson said: “They were all so excited telling me about their favourite dish. They said please come around to my house I would love to teach it to you. 

“That was the moment I thought this is a skillset that you all have, there’s lots of people in this country who would love to learn your recipes so why don’t we make this your job?” 

Migrateful currently runs socially distanced classes for vulnerable migrants every Tuesday in All Saints, Peckham, and runs chef training classes online. 

These classes help them on their path to employment and social integration as they share recipes they practice their English and boast their confidence. 

Migrateful also runs migrant led cookery classes for the public so that chefs can share their recipes.  

A spokesperson for the charity said: “The classes we run with members of the public are so important as a lot of people who attend the classes have never engaged with people like our chefs before.

“We have definitely seen an impact and a change in attitudes.”

Feature image credit: Migrateful

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