Local restaurants and venues in Cape Town have opened up their doors to the skilled chefs of the Refugee Food Festival (RFF). It is the first time the festival is taking place in Cape Town since its establishment in Europe two years ago and it has been very well received.
Centered around World Refugee Day on 20 June, the RFF began on 16 June and will end on 26 June. Each day will feature different trained chefs presenting menus inspired by their countries at various locations.
The festival first took place in France in 2016 and then in Greece, Belgium and Netherlands last year. Jacob Berget, a member of the team that helped bring the festival to Cape Town, said the initiative serves three purposes. Firstly, to showcase the talent of the amazing chefs who were forced to flee their countries.
“Often in media refugees can be portrayed as a problem or burden in society. We wanted to showcase all the good things that refugees bring,” he said.
The second purpose is to aid professional integration and increase the networks of these chefs. The last aim, Jacob explained, is to ‘bring people together because there’s nothing that brings people together like food.’
Ranked as the city with the highest number of refugees and asylum-seekers in South Africa, the organisers felt Cape Town would be a perfect host city for the festival.
“Refugee challenges are not isolated to Europe, even though may Europeans think that. There’s actually a lot of refugees moving around within Africa and moving from other regions to Africa,” said Jacob.
To enjoy a taste of delicious cuisine from around the world, see the line-up below to know where you can go.