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Meet the team

Here you can learn more about the team that are bringing Migrateful cookery classes to a venue near you. Are you interested in working at Migrateful? Join the team.

Jess Thompson

The founder, Jess Thompson, prior to setting up Migrateful, spent two and a half years working on the front line to support migrants and refugees in Ceuta, Morocco, Dunkirk refugee camp in France, and London. Her work has included facilitating a support group for victims of human trafficking, teaching English, Spanish and French to asylum seekers, and setting up therapeutic English conversation clubs. Jess also completed the Year Here Fellowship from 2016-2017 which gave her the training and network to set up Migrateful. She was featured on the 2020 Forbes 30 Under 30 List and also the 2020 Women of the Year List in recognition of her achievement in setting up Migrateful. 

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Tomi Makanjuola

Tomi uses her background in online content creation to manage Migrateful’s marketing strategy and social media channels. She is excited about finding creative ways to share the stories, recipes and work of the Migrateful chefs. She is a vegan chef and blogger who specialises in Nigerian cuisine. Her work includes cookery workshops, recipe development and creating bespoke pop-up events.

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Elizabeth Kolawole-Johnson

Elizabeth trained as a psychologist in Nigeria before moving to the UK, 10 years ago. She joined Migrateful as a chef in 2017 and managed to finally regulate her immigration status in 2018. She has first hand experience of  working as a chef for Migrateful and how life changing the experience has been for her, making her perfectly placed to carry out her role as Event Administrator. 

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Nadine Shamji

Born in Kenya, raised in the Congo, and of Indian descent, Nadine was drawn to the diversity of the Migrateful family. She began as an intern at Migrateful, and is now our Events Coordinator. With a background in nursing and Global Public Health, Nadine has always been keen on entering a field that empowered individuals. Migrateful’s mission embodies this while involving her favourite thing in the world – food!

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Ryan Horsford

Ryan has over ten years experience in the world of business. Prior to starting at Migrateful he released a self published audio book, under his personal brand, myfreemynd. This saw him making an appearance on BBC 1 Xtra and BBC Radio London. Ryan understands what it takes to maintain brand integrity while bringing a product to market and this is why he is well suited to his current role as Head of Business Development here at Migrateful.

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Andrea Merino-Mayayo

Andrea, brought up in Madrid, is currently studying a masters in International Development in the Netherlands. She started an internship with Migrateful as part of her masters, and now organizes private and corporate classes, and deals with other bookings enquiries for Migrateful as Events Manager. Her love for food, cooking, diversity and community is what drew her to Migrateful.

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Stephen Wilson

Steve is the Head of Chef Training at Migrateful. He is an experienced chef and cookery teacher with experience varying from working in Michelin starred restaurants and in mass catering for community projects. He set up The People’s Kitchen, and Dalstons, a natural soft drinks company. He now works as a cookery teacher and chef consultant, as well as running a new pop up called @Tableonthewater.

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Our trustees

Mireille Harper

Mireille is an editor at Square Peg, Vintage (Penguin Random House UK. Outside of work, Mireille works as a freelance writer, sensitivity reader and PR and comms consultant working with grassroots arts and culture organisations, black-owned businesses and black creatives. Mireille also volunteers as an Independent Visitor, mentors students and young people looking to get into the publishing and creative industries, and offers editorial advice to aspiring writers.

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Isabel Sachs​

Isabel is an arts and culture manager with international experience in artists and event management and communications, having founded and sold an award-winning international production company based in Brazil. Isabel studied at Leiths School of Food and Wine to become a professional Brazilian cookery class teacher. She started volunteering at Migrateful in 2018 to help develop their cookery class model. She then worked as the Migrateful Event Manager for over a year, supporting its expansion, before becoming a Trustee.

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Habib Sedat

Habib is part of the Migrateful chef alumni. Habib managed to escape the talibans, using food as his tool to survive in the Afghan army; in Calais refugee camp and now to thrive in London. Habib says that teaching the Migrateful cookery classes allowed him to meet British people and it was a place where he could belong and people made him feel valued and trusted. Running the classes has also helped him to develop the idea of starting his own Afghan food company.

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Emily Miller​

Emily heads up learning and partnerships at the Migration Museum in London. She coordinates all their work with schools, unis and other organisations in different sectors. It is through this role that she met Jess and came across the wonders of Migrateful. The Migration Museum now hosts monthly Migrateful cooking class and has been lucky to share the delicious cuisines of various chefs through their catering at the museum’s Refugee Week events. Emily is proud to be a trustee and help the organisation develop and grow – and help more people affected by the hostile environment.

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Daljeet Singh

Daljeet (or DJ as he is better known) is a freelance marketing expert using his 8 years of experience to provide marketing strategy & services for ethical businesses that are changing the world. His experience spans freelance writing work, co-founding multiple businesses, working in-house for a number of businesses, and providing ad-hoc consultation to clients at a business coaching firm he was marketing manager for. He started helping Migrateful through a mentorship programme and is thrilled to be a part of helping Migrateful become a self-sufficient enterprise.

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Mary Locke​

After a career in international development and social investment, Mary now focuses on ways to deal with conflict and difference constructively. She works as a mediator and is exploring ways to evaluate the efficacy of community mediation and dialogue. She was drawn to Migrateful recognising the power of its model – not only supporting vulnerable migrants but also bringing people together through the universal love of food. She is also an active fellow of the RSA.

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Amaya Dent

Amaya works as a Creative Producer on a wide variety of cultural events and public art projects. She has significant experience in producing ambitious work in the outdoor realm. She is experienced in co-creating projects with the community, and firmly believes that things are rarely interesting unless everybody is in the room. Her work ensures that underrepresented voices get a say in the arts. Her methods remove barriers that prevent access to great art and culture for all people.

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Nora Bali

Nora has been working for over 10 years with the Credit team at The Charity Bank, an ethical organisation supporting charities and social enterprises on their journey to sustainability. Driven by her Syrian roots, Nora joined Migrateful to combine efforts and help migrants and refugees to become independent and dynamic members in their new communities. Nora has also a keen interest in Microfinance and has been to Kenya and India on a number of projects working on improving business acumen and financial management of small businesses.

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