Recipes rebuilding lives 

Migrateful helps refugees and asylum seekers on their journey to employment and independence and promotes integration. It runs cookery classes led by migrant chefs struggling to integrate and access employment due to legal and linguistic barriers. The cookery classes provide ideal conditions not just for learning English and building confidence but also for promoting contact with the wider community.

The idea

The founder of Migrateful has many years’ experience working with refugees, in Ceuta (Morocco) and Dunkirk, as well as in East London. The idea was born out of discussions with a group of refugee women at a Time Bank project in Tower Hamlets. The women in the group were all very qualified and yet were unemployed because of language barriers and because their qualifications were not recognised. When asked about the skills they could share with the group, many of them said they could cook. Later, as everyone sat sharing their various traditional foods, and discussing what they could do, the Migrateful idea was born – the cooking skills of the refugee community and our universal love of food could be harnessed to bring people together.

Chef training

We train our chefs through weekly workshops, taking them on a journey from “passionate home cook” to “confident cookery class teacher”. Sessions begin with English conversation or confidence building exercises. Participants then take it in turns to teach the rest of the group to cook their traditional cuisine, before all sitting down together to share the meal they have prepared, building connections and further developing their English.

Cookery classes

When our chefs feel ready, they are supported to deliver evening cookery classes to paying customers. These paid classes take place in cafes or customers can host a class in their own home for themselves and their friends. Each class lasts around three hours, with an average of ten paying participants per class. Since Migrateful was founded in July 2017, we have run 180 cookery classes with 1800 participants and now have 16 chefs from Iran, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, Albania, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Ecuador and Cuba teaching their cuisines regularly.

Read about our mission here