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‘These cookies are a symbol for the changing face of Ireland’

When chef Jess Murphy first pitched her idea for a book focused on the recipes of refugees and asylum seekers, she was told Syria ‘wasn’t fashionable anymore’. Undeterred, she teamed up with Eoin Cluskey of Bread 41 to create a new cookbook that uses the humble cookie to share these stories of cooking in exile

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Authors of 'The United Nations of Cookies' Eoin Cluskey and Jess Murphy. Picture: Mark Condren

Authors of 'The United Nations of Cookies' Eoin Cluskey and Jess Murphy. Picture: Mark Condren

Eoin Cluskey and Jess Murphy. Picture: Mark Condren

Eoin Cluskey and Jess Murphy. Picture: Mark Condren

Eoin Clusky and Jess Murphy who have a new cookbook 'The United Nations of Cookies' Pic: Mark Condren

Eoin Clusky and Jess Murphy who have a new cookbook 'The United Nations of Cookies' Pic: Mark Condren

The United Nations of Cookies

The United Nations of Cookies

Ahmet Dede of Dede in Baltimore, Co Cork. Picture: Clare Keogh

Ahmet Dede of Dede in Baltimore, Co Cork. Picture: Clare Keogh

Mickael Viljanen, of the two-Michelin-starred Chapter One. Picture: Nina Val

Mickael Viljanen, of the two-Michelin-starred Chapter One. Picture: Nina Val

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Authors of 'The United Nations of Cookies' Eoin Cluskey and Jess Murphy. Picture: Mark Condren

Jess Murphy of Kai in Galway, originally from New Zealand and now a proud Irish citizen, has been a formal high-profile supporter of UNHCR, The UN Refugee Agency, since 2017, cooking with and collecting recipes from refugees — many of them from Syria — and asylum seekers in Ireland.

From the beginning,” she says, “I felt we needed to start recording immigrants’ cooking stories and styles, because we’ve never really had immigrants like this in Ireland before, and we need to capture this visible change in our food culture, the cooking in exile. I had an idea for a book and approached every publishing house in the country, but they all turned me down and I failed to get it published. I was told Syria was not fashionable any more.”


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