Cooking up a mission!

I have been looking for a while to find a cookery class in the south-east of London or Kent areas to help brush up on my kitchen skills. The main objective was to find a class that would consist of wholesome and homemade dishes that would allow me to showcase back home to my family.

I know my regular readers will appreciate my love for curry. I decided upon identifying a class that would bring authenticity in a vegetarian package. We all understand the importance of vegetables in our diet therefore both myself and Munching Mummy want to ensure this habit is passed through to the children. It is well known that us Brits tend to use veggies in a very bland way (You know what I mean) and then we are shocked when the kiddies turn up their noses!

Variety is the spice of life.

I wanted to find a cookery class that would allow me to travel after work. On top of the list was a lesson that would offer a South Asian variety of vegetable dishes that I could produce at home for all the Munchers!

When researching, I found an inspiring company called Migrateful, which was founded by Jess Thompson. Jess has a real passion for supporting people, which started from her time as a front line support worker for refugees across multiple locations in the world. The Migrateful team are currently on a mission to empower refugees, migrants and asylum seekers in their journeys to become part of our society in the UK.

There is something profoundly satisfying about sharing a meal. Eating together, breaking bread together, is one of the oldest and most fundamentally unifying of human experiences.

Barbara Coloroso

The concept is heart-warming and intriguing. In a nutshell, you can book ‘open’ cookery classes via Migrateful, who offer a vast range of world cuisine including Lebanese, Iranian, Pakistani, Nigerian, Bengali, Filipino and MORE for a small sum of £35 per person plus a small booking fee.

The chefs working with Migrateful are either current asylum seekers, refugees or migrants who are proud of their heritage. It is unfortunate; however, these people have had to leave their home nations for many various reasons. In attending the class not only does this educate you with new skills and respect but also help support this

The chef for each foodie region brings a wealth of knowledge on recipes passed down generations! On top of this, for me, there was significant learning of culture and appreciation. The class revolves around inclusion for all the students when it kicks off with an exploration of all attendees sharing what reminds them of home (mine was pie and mash).

Our chef for the evening was Noor, from Lahore in Pakistan. In terms of food, Lahore is pretty famous for having it on tap 24/7. We had been told how everyone in the region is obsessed with food (part of the pre-nuptials is cooking a good chapati, according to Noor). Noor has been in the UK for 3 years and is still waiting for her asylum to be claimed; therefore, she is currently unable to work and earn a living.

Domes of the The Badshahi Mosque (Emperor Mosque ) built in 1673 by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in Lahore, Pakistan

I never realised until the cookery clas that asylum seekers in the UK are unable to work and contribute until their asylum has successfully been claimed. I would note that the asylum process is usually pretty slow. I firmly believe there should be more media coverage on how the country can improve the speed and decision process and less on how much we spend.

I will get back onto the food which by the way was amazing! We cooked a starter, main course, dessert, side dip and chapati for good luck. The group was split into mini-groups who tackled each one of the dishes then we bundled together during crucial parts of the recipes for guidance from Noor.

The Chapati Station!

I began with the simple (or so I believed) Raita. There were lots, and I mean lots of chopping involved, Noor expressed the importance of ‘finely’ and luckily for me, my knife skills held up to the test. Gold sticker for me. We pieced together the ingredients and then moved onto the other stations.

The dishes for the evening consisted of:

  • Noor’s Grandmothers Dahl
  • Vegetable Curry
  • Carrot Halwa
  • Mint and Corriander Raita
  • Chapati
  • Rice – How could we not..

The overall time at the class was spent between 6.30pm and 9.30pm. The first two hours include the introduction, splitting of recipes, cooking of the food and then the last 45 mins to an hour are spent together eating and enjoying!! The general atmosphere was very laid back, including BYOB for anyone that fancied a tipple and a great social event for everyone involved with lots of stories shared.

There was also a volunteering team (led on the night by Anne Conde) to help support both the ‘students’ and Noor throughout the evening. The volunteers were involved from start to finish, including the closing meal! The food was laid out across a table, and everyone involved in the night joined together on two large tables to enjoy the hard work. I ate both second and third helpings it was that good.

The whole barrier exists because most people never come together and sit down at a table… join together, break bread together, and celebrate their differences and their likenesses.

Oprah Winfrey

I could think of no better way to learn authentic cooking from all over the world while supporting a fantastic cause during the process. The classes are held across various locations in London plus a recent opening in Bristol and the booking process is straightforward. You can visit and book classes via the Migrateful website. I can thoroughly recommend this will be a delightful evening.

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