As our The Plate project comes to an end within the next year and the end of autumn brings us change and new beginnings, Alis reflects on his time at Oasis and what the future holds for his continued career as Chef specialising in Latino street food!

The Plate is a project delivered in partnership with Oasis Cardiff and has been funded by The National Lottery Community Fund for the last 4 years. The project aims to involve and engage the local and the wider community in the work we conduct with all of the amazing people who access our centre. The project enables an opportunity to deliver regular community events, inspired by the culinary prowess of our talented clients, in which we hope to create a melting pot of cultural food heritages from around the globe.

Since Alis started volunteering with us while still an asylum seeker he has shown commitment and passion in his work as a chef and now as Catering Manager Alis has started to make the project his own. 

Bringing us a new Latin-inspired menu for our Global Eats Trailer which was launched in November 2022. Cardiff currently has very limited exposure to authentic Latin street food so this is a very exciting time for Oasis and a brilliant way to bring an end to The Plate Project. 

One of our brilliant comms volunteers Nick Dunn interviewed Alis to find out a bit more about his journey with Oasis: 

How did you come to work for Oasis in the beginning?

In 2019 I came to the United Kingdom, and two months later we were sent to Cardiff. We were told about Oasis, that you could get free food and so on, and we came because Migrant Help wasn’t providing food and they sent us here so we could get food. I saw that they had different activities and someone working here came to me, but I didn’t have the English level I have now. He asked me what I used to do back in my country, and what I like to do. I told him I liked working in kitchens, and he asked me if I want to be a volunteer in the kitchen. I said yes, and that’s how I found Oasis!

So, what made you decide to become a chef? Were you a chef back home?

Yeah, I was a chef back in my country, with about 6-7 years of experience in the kitchen. I studied for that. 

And then you brought that with you to the UK?


And where did you come from originally?

Honduras, in Central America. 

Nice! So, what’s been your favourite moment working in Oasis so far?

It’s hard to say specifically because every day there’s something that happens that makes you laugh. But if I had to say something it’s when we had our first time at Green Man. It was my first time dealing with customers. So, it was a test of not just my skills as a chef but speaking English. I was really nervous! But then it was fun.

Was that what you most enjoyed about Green Man? Did you get to see any performers? Did you enjoy anything else about Green Man?

We were really busy, but it was a good time with my mates at work. It was stressful but funny at the same time. But at night we could go hear some music which was good.

Of the people, you got to see at Green Man, who was your favourite?

I can’t remember the first time, but there was a lady doing some electro music, and then this year I went to see Bicep. 

Not heard of them!

They have a really famous song, I used to hear it every day, and then I wanted to see them. 

So, it’s Bicep like the muscle?


Band names are so weird… Of all the other festivals the trailer has been to, what have you enjoyed most?

Honestly, it’s not just the events, it’s the people. The feedback is really nice, it makes me feel really proud of what we do and who we are. It’s all the support of all the people. It’s a good feeling.

And that’s been universal across all the places the trailer has been?

Oh yeah, some places are busier than others but there’s always good feedback.

It’s really gratifying to hear that there’s been good feedback because in the news there are always politicians saying, “we don’t want refugees and immigrants” and the people themselves are saying the opposite. 

And also, it’s not our fault for trying to get a better life. Whatever the reason, wherever we’ve been, it’s not safe. Back in my own country, I had my own business and my own life, I had everything. I came not because I wanted to, but because my life was in danger. It’s not a choice, really.

And so many people don’t think about it like that. They just get caught up in believing what they’re told that they don’t think there might be a reason people are leaving their homes and that we should be trying to make their lives in the new country safe and happy for them. It honestly baffles me.

People are people! I always say it is what it is.

It is! So, what do you like most about working in the trailer specifically? Is there any one thing you like most?

I always see new faces and new customers every time, and, we also, have loyal customers who never stop talking about our food and sharing photos. They try to be here when we open every day, so that makes me feel great because I’m trying to give the best to them. There are also some dishes I can make from my country.

What’s your favourite dish you get to make in the trailer?

Obviously the Baleada from Honduras. It’s the wrap. We’ve got a really nice menu with vegetarian, vegan, and meat options, but not all the ingredients are the same in each dish, and I like the variety of the ingredients. It’s really nice

What’s your favourite meal of all time?

Here or back in my country?


Back in my country, it’s Baleadas, but you can have them anywhere. If you want to go fancy you can go to street food trailers where they make pollo chuco which is fried chicken, with pickled cabbage and fried green bananas chips and sauces. 

What about here in Britain? Or Welsh food? You can say it’s bad cuisine, it’s fine!

If I had the opportunity to try it, I don’t remember the name. We’ve been to St. Fagans, but I don’t remember the names of the foods. I’m really bad at remembering the names. Back in my country, it was fine, but when I came here, it was so different with new spices and everything and I have to learn it all over again.

Not even a Welsh cake?

I don’t remember! 

At some point, you’ll have to have a Welsh cake. That’s it for now, so thank you very much!

At Oasis food has always been at the heart of everything we do, it is our universal language so we are delighted when we can also share it with our wider community. 

So come along and try Alis' new menu on our Global Eats Trailer every Tuesday - Thursday from 12:30pm - 2:30pm at Oasis Cardiff!

Or please do get in touch with our catering team if you are interested in booking us for your next event email [email protected] or [email protected]