Friday, 22 February 2013

Refugee Action urges Manchester chefs to celebrate World Food Night

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Mancunian Matters, 22/02/2013

A national refugee charity is calling on Mancunians to spice up their cooking and celebrate the city’s migrant communities in aid of World Food Night tonight.

With Manchester having the largest number of refugees in the country, Refugee Action hopes people will take to their kitchens this evening to cook up a recipe for change. Celebrity Chef Levi Roots – who strummed his way to £50,000 worth of investment in the BBC series Dragon’s Den – hailed the event.

“World food and music are two essential ingredients for a successful dinner party with friends or family,” the Jamaican-born musician and entrepreneur said.“We’re calling on supporters everywhere to put some carnival into their cooking by holding a special World Food Night event to raise awareness and dough for an important cause.”

Standing up for refugee rights in the UK for more than 30 years, the charity is hoping the event will encourage people to accept asylum seekers and refugees into their communities nationwide. Refugee Action’s Chief Executive, Dave Garratt believes World Food Night is a great way to support the UK’s proud tradition of welcoming people who are seeking protection.“From tikka masala to tapas, stir fry noodles to sushi, the nation’s appetite for international cuisine has grown dramatically over the past few decades,” he said.“Even the great British tradition of fish and chips can be traced back to Jewish refugees from Portugal and Spain in the 17th century. We have a lot to thank for the communities that have sought sanctuary here in the UK and the positive contribution they have made to the diverse culinary traditions that we enjoy today.”

The Challenge Network – a community group who work with young people in Old Trafford – will be holding their own event tonight to try and bring together people across all generations, ethnic groups and incomes.A team of like-minded teenagers will provide different foods from around the world for their peers and discuss ideas for how they hope build a stronger society in the future. With UK Schools being the most socially segregated in the world, assistant programme manager of The Challenge Network, Ian van der Heyden believes tackling young people’s views is the way forward.“Our central mission is to inspire people to strengthen their communities,” he said.“We hope that the people we work with will cascade their views into the communities and make a difference. We can make a change on a local scale and ensure people are better connected so there is not such a divide.”

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