To mark World Refugee Day on June 20th, 16 restaurants across Ireland – as well as St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin and the Kinsale Road Direct Provision Centre in Cork – will open their doors to chefs and bakers with refugee status or applications under consideration. The co-operative effort will then culminate with welcome dinners in each of the 3 locations, and is part of the Refugee Food Festival, a UN Refugee Agency initiative.
Enda O’Neill – Head of Office with the Irish UNHCR – says “Despite the difficult and tragic circumstances in which people flee, we should not forget that refugees bring skills and talent to their new homes. With their right to work set to be introduced for asylum-seekers, the Refugee Food Festival aims to connect people with employers that are eager for their experience and know-how.”
Chef Jess Murphy from Kai Restaurant – who are taking part in the initiative – says Irish restaurants need 7,000 staff, many of whom may be found in Ireland’s new communities. “There is a massive chef shortage in Ireland and by having our peers from other countries working, prepping and cooking food, we are filling positions where there is a real shortage of skilled staff. On top of all this we are all learning from each other, experiencing real food culture in the kitchen. This is only going to benefit us all.”
16 restaurants and food businesses across Ireland are taking part, and more information can be found by searching #OpenTheDoorIreland