People

Support Sydney Refugees With This Epic New Dinner Series

By Rebecca Mitchell
16th Mar 2021

A plate of vibrantly coloured Syrian food.

Like your supper with a side of goodwill?

A brand new dining experience in Sydney is showcasing the talents of refugee chefs in an effort to support refugee and asylum seeker-led businesses. The series of special dinners will give you the chance to enjoy a specially-curated three-course meal of delicacies from Sri Lanka, Syria, or Ethiopia.

The premiere event, set to take place on Thursday 1 April, will be a Syrian feast created by chefs and caterers Racha and Nidal from Racha's Syrian Kitchen (just look at these spreads!). This event has now sold out—but don't worry. In the events to-come, diners can expect to discover menus by Sydney-based Sri Lankan caterer Bavan Foods (whom you may recognise from their former Marrickville Market stall), and Wollongong-based Ethiopian Cuisines.

The private dinners will take place at various venues and kitchens around Sydney. Tickets will be priced between $80 - $100 (the first is $85), and your ticket includes the three-course meal and a glass of wine upon arrival.

This series of "Social Suppers" is an initiative of Welcome Merchant, an organisation working to assist and elevate the voices of refugee and asylum seeker entrepreneurs from around Australia. Along with the curated dining program, Welcome Merchant is also set to deliver a series of cooking classes this year.

Sixty percent of ticket sales from both Social Suppers and cooking classes (expected to be priced around $140) will go toward supporting the participating chefs, with the remaining 40% set to go towards overheads and the ongoing services of Welcome Merchant.

Welcome Merchant currently offers a handy list of refugee-run and allied businesses on their website and hopes to provide support for refugee and asylum seeker-led organisations to make them more profitable, valuable, and sustainable.

Among their assisted organisations is Aunty’s Ginger Tonic, a non-alcoholic, health-focused drinks brand founded by Sierra Leonean woman Yarrie Bungara. “Having a platform like Welcome Merchant helps to showcase that we’re building lives in Australia, providing jobs for others, making things Australians need,” Yarried shared. “We can showcase our talent and our ability to contribute to society.”

Newtown MP Jenny Leong is also a fan of Welcome Merchant and attended the launch of their Social Supper series earlier this year.

“During this pandemic and during this crisis, the people that have actually been the hardest hit by the kinds of changes that have happened have been those people that have gotten absolutely no government support,” she said at the event. “If there was ever a time for us to be supporting refugee-powered businesses in our community, now is that time.”

For more info, jump over here

THE DETAILS

What: Welcome Merchant Social Supper Series
When: Thursday 1 April now sold out, head here for future dates
Where: Various venues in Sydney

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Image credit: Louis Hansel

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