Backed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Refugee Food Festival is a citizen initiative touring event developed by the Food Sweet Food association. The objective is three-fold: to foster a change in public perception of the welcoming and status of refugees, to step up the socio-professional integration of refugee chefs thanks to the commitment of caterers such as Elior Group and to bring together all members of civil society around the dining table, the universal symbol of peace and equality.
This was a very fulfilling experience; contract catering certainly makes a change from all the pots and pans one has to deal with working in traditional restaurants! I also appreciated the warm welcome I received from the team and the reaction of people when they discovered Afghan cooking for the first time.
— Afghan chef Sadia Hessabi, who participated in the 2018 Refugee Food Festival in an Elior restaurant in Lyon
For the 4h edition of the Refugee Food Festival, Elior Group will be welcoming refugee chefs into B&I restaurants it manages in Spain (Madrid) and in France (Bordeaux, Lille, Lyon, Marseilles, Paris and Strasbourg). For a few days, these chefs will try their hand at contract catering by proposing the culinary dishes of their country of origin to the employees of several large groups:
- BNP Paribas Real Estate in Issy-les-Moulineaux, where Sudanese chef Hussein Abdallah will be cooking for 600 employees on June 18, 19 and 20.
- SPIE in Strasbourg, where Syrian chef Samer Mubarak will be cooking for 200 employees on June 18.
- Renault Trucks in Lyon, where Iranian chef Kanoosh Kokabidanesh will be cooking for 400 employees on June 25 and 26.
- Caisse d’Épargne Aquitaine Poitou-Charentes in Bordeaux, where Syrian chef Khuzama Dalati will be cooking for 400 employees on June 26.
- Banque Populaire Méditerranée in Marseille, where Ivorian chef Brigitte Kunan will be cooking for 380 employees on June 26 and 27.
- Roche in Madrid, where Syrian chef Noor M. will be cooking for 250 employees on June 27.
Elior Group promotes the professional integration of refugee chefs by enabling them to discover the different activities involved in contract catering and putting them into contact with its Human Resources teams.
At the same time, Elior Group Solidarities continues to lend support to La Résidence, which was created by the Refugee Food Festival in 2018. Located right in the heart of Paris, La Résidence is a Refugee Food Festival restaurant and training center where refugee chefs can test and fine-tune their culinary talents before entering the professional catering stage.
Founded in 2017, Elior Group Solidarities backs solidarity initiatives designed to help the most vulnerable members of the community, supports their projects and helps them achieve tangible and sustainable results. By backing the Refugee Food Festival, Elior Group has underscored its commitment to promoting the discovery of new savors, valuing the culinary heritages of the world and creating convivial events that bring people together, and to the professional integration of people in need.