For refugees, food is a binding part of their culture. During times of conflict and civil unrest, it becomes a way to bring the local community together and care for one another. For these refugees who are living in Wales, cooking has become a way of expressing themselves and sharing their stories with others.

Dani Ebrahim is one of these people. Growing up in Iran, food was an important part of his culture and when he arrived in Cardiff in 2019, he missed the tastes and flavours of food from home. Subsequently, he joined the culinary project, The Plate which is run by refugee and asylum seeker charity, Oasis Cardiff.

The project trains refugees and asylum seekers in culinary skills and gives them the real-life experience needed to move into a job in hospitality and catering once they receive refugee status. Many, including Dani, have gone on to become employees at Oasis Cardiff or work in kitchens across the city.

Lead by chef, Matt Davenport, Dani and the rest of the team have built their skills in the kitchen through developing and cooking recipes for multiple events in Cardiff and are now ready to work within a live café setting, at Kemi’s Pontcanna.

A group of refugees and chefs from a local charity, Oasis Cardiff, are sharing their traditional homemade recipes at a new pop-up takeaway café in Pontcanna every Tuesday and Wednesday from 23rd March.

The menu displays recipes from seven different countries, each of which has been passed down through multiple generations and brought here to Cardiff such as an Iranian classic, Kookoo Sabzi, North African breakfast, Shakshuka, Gambian porridge, classic Ethiopian desserts with plenty more options for those who wish to expand their palate and enjoy trying new food.

Dani says, “When I’m cooking nothing else matters and my mind is completely free. It’s an honour to get to share some of the recipes that have been passed through my family, here in Cardiff. It’s my way of saying thank you for welcoming me here.”

Hafiz, who is another chef in the project says, “We’ve been working really hard to make these recipes and we want everyone in Cardiff to be able to enjoy the food that reminds us of home.”

Matt, Catering Manager at Oasis Cardiff, says, “Oasis Cardiff is a melting pot of cultural heritages from across the world and that’s what has formed the heart and soul of this menu. Cooking can be an incredible form of healing and connecting with others which is what makes each of these dishes so special.”

Kemi shares, “The menu is full of really unique flavours and I think people will be amazed by what these guys have put together.”

The team will take over the café for six months, and all of the money raised from the project will be put back into the organisation, contributing towards further help, activities, and regular training for refugees and asylum seekers who have expressed an interest in cooking and catering.