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

Estas refugiadas sirias se han convertido en emprendedoras culinarias en Toronto – VICE News


Por Leo Moncel
Una mujer menuda apoya su cuerpo entero sobre el rollo de amasar. Está aplastando una obstinada masa de harina integral. Lo hace con insistencia hasta conseguir dejarla aplanada y moldeable. Otras dos mujeres, éstas sentadas, aporrean rodajas de pasta de harina y se ponen a envolver empanadas de ternera. Estas mujeres — y las otras cuatro que cortan perejil, tomates y cebollas entre salsas embriagadoras y platos de cocción lenta— son todas refugiadas sirias.


Syrian refugees gather to cook and sell traditional meals – Yahoo News

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Canadian Press Videos July 13, 2016

Syrian refugee women in Toronto make traditional dishes and sell them online every Thursday as part of a program called Newcomer Kitchen. Rahaf Alakbani says living in a hotel prevented her from cooking when she first arrived in Canada.

Watch the video

مطعم كندي يعطي فرصة للسوريات لإظهار مواهبهن في الطبخ.. فماذا كانت النتيجة؟

تم النشر:

إنه لمن المثير جداً أن يُترك باب مطعم دبانيور مفتوحاً للهواء. فرائحة البصل المقلي والدجاج بالصلصة تفوح إلى الخارج، في وقت ما بعد الظهيرة المُشبع بالبخار بمدينة تورونتو الكندية.

ومن الصعب ألا تتوقف وتُحدّق فيما يحدث في آخر ذلك المطعم المزدحم المفتوح، بحسب تقرير نشرته النسخة الكندية لـ”هافينغتون بوست”.

لسن عاملات

قرابة دستة من النساء، بعضهن يرتدين الحجاب، والبعض الآخر يرتدين الجينز، مشغولات بطبخ وجبة مكونة من 3 أطباق، لكن جميعهن لسن عاملات، فهم لاجئات سوريات جئن إلى وطنهم الجديد كندا منذ 3 أشهر فحسب.

“أحب رائحة الطبخ”، هكذا تقول ماجدة مافالاني التي أضافت: “إنه شعور عظيم أن أطبخ مجدداً، أشعر بأنني وُلِدت من جديد”.

Read the article

Newcomer Kitchen Cooks Up Business Venture For Syrian Refugee Women I Huffington Post


by Andree Lau

It’s so hot that the door to The Depanneur restaurant is propped open for air circulation. The smell of frying onions and then stewed chicken wafts outside into the steamy Toronto afternoon.

It’s hard not to stop and peer at what’s going on inside the crowded open kitchen in the back.

About a dozen women — some wearing headscarves, others in jeans — are busy cooking a three-course meal. But none are staff; they’re Syrian refugees who have been in their new home of Canada for just three months.

“I like the smell of cooking,” said Majda Mafalani. “It feels great to be cooking again. I feel that I was born again.”

>> Read the article

>> Watch the video

Newcomer Kitchen on the radio! The Pay Chen Show on Newstalk 1010


The Pay Chen Show is a weekly one-hour talk show on Newstalk 1010 that focuses on the interesting, the entertaining and sometimes the absurd. With guest experts and the occasional celebrity guest host, The Pay Chen Show explores a variety of lifestyle topics and timely issues.

“Have you heard of the Newcomer Kitchen? Did you know there are a group of Syrian moms making delicious Syrian meals that you can order to take hoe? Len Senater (The Depanneur) offered his kitchen space to a group of Syrian moms new to Toronto who were staying in hotels and didn’t have a kitchen to cook in. With the help of Rahaf and Esmaeel (recently arrived Syrians who assisted in coordinating), that one event snowballed into many opportunities for the Syrian women including cooking for 1000 people at the recent Laminato arts festival and catering a private VIP dinner for guests that included the Mayor. Learn about how you can get involved with Newcomer Kitchen to help them grow and expand.”

>> Listen to the episode
(starts at approx 20 minutes)

Canada Day VIP Iftar with Mayor John Tory

Yesterday was an incredibly special night for the Newcomer Kitchen. Last week we were approached by Mohammad Al Zaibak with an invitation to prepare the meal for a VIP Canada Day Iftar hosted by Kirstine Stewart and Zaib Shaikh, with some of Toronto’s most distinguished guests, including Mayor John Tory. How could we say no?

With the super-human efforts of Cara Benjamin-Pace, together with the amazing Newcomer Kitchen cooks, Tolga & Murat of M&T Boutique Meals, Hiyam Samara of Akram’s Shoppe and Maria Abdelkader, we pulled together what many guests told us was “the best Iftar they ever had”. The ladies got a private audience with the Mayor, and our multi-talented co-ordinators, Esmaeel & Rahaf, ended the evening with a beautiful performance of traditional Syrian folk songs and original composition, “Thank You Canada”. I’m sure the applause could be heard around the block!

It was an incredible amount of work, undertaken by an amazingly tough and talented group of women – most of them fasting through the whole 3 days of preparation – all determined to raise the profile of the Newcomer Kitchen’s FundRarz campaign, and help us get this idea into any kitchen, in any city in the world.

Newcomer Kitchen project gives Syrian refugees a taste of home in Toronto | The Globe and Mail

Four-year-old Jore Almasri poses outside the Depanneur, where her mom is inside taking cooking with other Syrian women. (Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)

Four-year-old Jore Almasri poses outside the Depanneur, where her mom is inside taking cooking with other Syrian women. (Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)


Newcomer Kitchen project gives Syrian refugees a taste of home in Toronto

by MAHNOOR YAWAR — The Globe and Mail

Sinaa Fakhereddin does not like eggs. She makes that clear to a kitchen full of strangers when she is asked to add an egg to the pot on the stove. Never in her life has she made sauce with eggs and she’s not about to start now. The other women are tense, not willing to argue with a 67-year-old woman who has seen more and done more than any of them.

“Mom, just add the egg. It doesn’t matter,” mutters 27-year-old Muhammed Aboura, laughing.

Ms. Fakhereddin arrived in Toronto just a week ago to join her son, who has been here a year. The two are Syrian refugees sponsored by members of the United Church of Canada, and they are keenly aware that they haven’t gone through the hardships that many others in the kitchen have, most of whom are on government assistance.

Mr. Aboura is just relieved to have his mother here, safe and protected from the Syrian regime. “I got to eat my mother’s cooking for the first time in three years last week. I couldn’t stop crying,” he says.

He watches her carefully, ready to jump in and help communicate if necessary. He spent time researching how to help newly arrived women adjust to life in Canada, and it led him to the Newcomer Kitchen.


Newcomer Kitchen FundRazr is live!

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THIS IS IT! Our FundRazr campaign is live!
If the Newcomer Kitchen project has touched you in any way, then this is your chance to be a part of creating an opportunity for joy, pride and dignity.

Please support us in any way you can, and share this post, and help us to make our world a more delicious place to be.


Newcomer Kitchen at Luminato!

Newcomer Kitchen at Luminato Festival

LuminatoLast week, Joshna Maharaj, a local food superhero and this year’s Food Programmer of the Luminato Festival reached out to us and invited the Newcomer Kitchen to participate in the Neighbourhood Food Festival — a free, two-day street party set up across from Union Station. To make this possible, we have partnered with Vanessa Yu of CaterToronto, and Syrian chef/entrepreneur Hiyam Samara of the beloved Akram’s Shoppe in Kensington Market. It’s amazing to think that our cooks — in just a few short weeks — will be part of one of Canada’s largest and most prestigious cultural festivals, serving over 1000 (!) people alongside some of Toronto’s top chefs and restaurants.

The Neighbourhood Food Festival is on Saturday, June 18 (12pm-8pm) and Sunday, June 19 (12pm-6pm), on Front Street, across from Union Station.

fatayer sfeeha

Our Newcomer cooks will be making 2 types of fatayer — the likely ancestor of all modern “pizzas” — following traditional recipes from the As-Suwayda region in southwestern Syria. Soft, hand-rolled dough is topped with either spiced ground beef, tomatoes, parsley and pine nuts (Sfeeha  صفيحة), or with a uniquely Syrian combination of spicy pepper paste, walnuts, mint and olive oil (Harra  حارة ), and served with some fresh vegetables on the side. We will also include a small square of Sfouf صفوف, a delicious golden semolina cake with turmeric, anise and pistachio. Access to the event is free and open to the public, with each food dish priced at $6. Come down and support these amazing ladies and their incredible achievement!

We will be back at The Dep next week with more amazing Syrian meals for sale.

Huffington Post videos garner over 140K views!

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Huffington Post Canada‘s Facebook Live broadcast, and their touching 1-minute mini-video summary of the Newcomer Kitchen project have together reached over 140,000 views and 5,000 likes on Facebook alone!