Refugee chefs take over Geneva restaurants: ‘I am convinced it can help change people’s perceptions’

Source: The Local

By Caroline Bishop; @calbish

On Sunday October 15th Sri Lankan chef Thambithurai Sritharan, an asylum seeker in Switzerland, will take over the kitchen of the Brasserie des Halles de l’Ile in Geneva as part of the first Swiss edition of the Refugee Food Festival.

Created by the Food Sweet Food association and co-organized by the UN’s refugee agency, the Refugee Food Festival is a citizens’ initiative offering talented refugee, asylum-seeking and provisionally admitted chefs the chance to showcase their skills and culinary heritage.

Already staged in cities around Europe, this first Swiss edition (October 11th-15th) sees five restaurants in Geneva open their kitchens to chefs from Syria, Eritrea, Sri Lanka, Tibet and Nigeria, who will present a special menu of their own dishes for one brunch, lunch or dinner only.

In doing so, the festival aims to change perceptions of refugees and asylum seekers and boost their chances of finding work, as well as offering local people the chance to discover cuisines from all over the world.

Sri Lankan chef Thambithurai Sritharan has worked in the food industry for 15 years and arrived in Switzerland in January 2016.

Here, he tells The Local what taking part in the festival means to him.


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