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Sligo Global Kitchen wins national food award


A Sligo food group which was born out of the need for those in Direct Provision to enjoy their own indigenous food has scooped a national award.

Sligo Global Kitchen won the Irish Food Writers' Guild's Community Award.

The awards celebrate indigenous food producers and organisations who create, make and share great Irish produce and products while helping to maintain Ireland's outstanding international reputation in food and drink.

Sligo Global Kitchen began in 2014 as a simple idea conceived by the team at The Model in Sligo: that people living locally in direct provision might appreciate the use of the arts centre's industrial kitchen to cook and eat together, given that residents cannot cook their own food in direct provision.

Artist Anna Spearman approached Cameroonian Mabel Chah to liaise with other residents in direct provision.

With funding from the Community Foundation of Ireland and Communities Integration Fund, they reached out to other groups of refugees, collaborating with the Syrian community in Ballaghaderreen for a meal celebrating Syrian, Zimbabwean and Nigerian cuisine.

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Over 400 people of at least 18 different nationalities attended that meal, 75 of them Syrian, including five Syrian cooks.

Sligo Global Kitchen now runs communal meals at least once a month, at which three courses are served buffet style with dishes from at least two different culinary cultures.

Donations collected from the previous meals will support future events after the funding period finishes in the summer of 2018.

The Irish Food Writers' Guild commends the initiative as a proactive way of building links between cultures by facilitating people in coming together to cook, eat and celebrate each other's food culture.

The events at The Model have proven very popular and one of the most well attended was one last September called “the Syrian Story” which attracted so many people that they ran out of plates with 200 having already been filled.