A Culinary Melting Pot: Migrateful Comes to Canary Wharf – 30.05.19

Cookery classes taught by refugees and migrants come to the East End

In the run up to Refugee Week 2019, Canary Wharf will host a series of cookery classes curated by Migrateful; a charity that helps migrants, refugees and asylum seekers find their feet on British soil, by giving them the opportunity to teach cookery from their native country.

The Migrateful Cookery Classes will run on Tuesday 11 June and Wednesday 12 June in Canary Wharf’s Crossrail Place Roof Garden, where participants will be given the chance to perfect authentic dishes from Nigeria, Iran, Cuba and Ethiopia. Tickets cost £10 for lunchtimes or £20 for evening sittings, with all proceeds going to Migrateful, helping the charity to extend its programme to more people.

Whilst preparing their dishes, guests can listen to the chefs as they share stories from their home country, providing an insight into their journey so far, alongside their favourite recipes. Class members will learn authentic techniques through demonstrations and an expert helping hand throughout the class. Once the preparation is complete, the meal is enjoyed, family-style, alongside the chef.

Migrateful was founded by Jess Thompson, after meeting countless women who told her: ‘I don’t have a skill to share in this country. All I can do is cook’. The charity supports three groups: asylum seekers, refugees and long-term migrants, all of which share common issues of language skills and legal working status. Each time a Migrateful chef teaches, they are given a travel card and a weekly destitution fund, as well as a chance to practice their language skills, widen their network, increase their confidence and share and celebrate their culture.


Tuesday 11 June, 1-2pm

Join mother and daughter duo Elahe and Parastoo for an Iranian culinary discovery
Elahe grew up in Tehran and enjoyed her mother’s bold style of cooking throughout her childhood. She introduced her mother, Parastoo, to Migrateful when she arrived in the UK. Through Migrateful, Parastoo has continued to cook with love and passion and grown in confidence and self-esteem. She says ‘it’s hard not to love Iranian food’ and guests can expect aromatic dishes packed with characteristic flavourings such as saffron, dried lime, cinnamon, and parsley.

Tuesday 11 June, 1-2pm 6-8.30pm

Enjoy Cuban cuisine with a side of salsa with Lola
A former vet in Cuba, Lola came to the UK 12 years ago to live with her daughter and son. Having only spoken Spanish at home, she never learned English and felt isolated living in the UK. Now 71 years old, she is determined to learn and practices her English with her cookery students. One of her favourite dishes to teach is “con gris” with black beans and white rice – a symbol and celebration of diversity in Cuba. With a passion for music and dance, Lola’s classes come with a side of salsa (and we’re not just talking about the food!) The class takes place 6-8.30pm.

Wednesday 12 June, 1-2pm

Tuck into some of West Africa’s finest dishes with Elizabeth
Nigerian native and mother-of-three, Elizabeth has always had a passion for cooking and loves nothing better than an excuse to rustle up something in the kitchen. Her favourite part of Migrateful is getting to meet people from different backgrounds and sharing her love of food with others. Expect soul-satisfying dishes from one of the world’s most ethnically diverse countries.

Wednesday 12 June, 6-8.30pm

Explore the vegetarian flavours of Ethiopia with Woin
Woin was born and raised in Addis Ababa and moved to London in the early 90s. She joined Migrateful a year and a half ago and through her work with the social enterprise, Woin set up her own vegan catering business in early 2018. Expect delicious meat-free, dishes bursting with distinct flavours from this remarkable country.

By speaking to guests and giving them a taste of their home country, the chefs gain valuable skills and improve their English – all whilst doing what they love. Above all, the classes offer much more than just a cookery lesson, providing a positive societal education for all.

Jess Thompson, founder of Migrateful, says: “Over recent years, our chefs have been able to build bridges into communities and rebuild their lives through Migrateful. Canary Wharf itself is home to many diverse cultures so it’s the ideal setting to host the next iteration of our cultural exchange.”

Lucie Moore, Head of Arts and Events, Canary Wharf Group says:  “The Migrateful Cookery Classes offer people an opportunity to celebrate different cultures – united by a common theme of our love of food. Migrateful is a great initiative and brings a whole new meaning to ‘food for thought’.”


For further information and images, please contact:

Press Office
Canary Wharf Group plc
T: 020 7418 2166
E: pressoffice@canarywharf.com

Notes to Editors


Tuesday 11 & Wednesday 12 June
1-2pm lunch (1 dish), 6-8.30pm dinner (3 dishes)
Crossrail Place Roof Garden
Canary Wharf
E14 5AB
Lunch £10, dinner £20

About Canary Wharf Group:

Canary Wharf Group plc has overseen the largest urban regeneration project ever undertaken in Europe, designing and building more than 16.5m sq ft of London real estate, which now houses local and international companies and renowned retailers.

The Canary Wharf Estate is a major retail destination comprising around 1m sq ft across five shopping malls, including the award-winning leisure development, Crossrail Place, housing one of London’s most stunning roof gardens.

It also has world-class, year-round arts and events programme offering over 200 diverse and culturally inspiring events performed throughout the Estate.

Canary Wharf Group is a wholly owned joint venture between Brookfield Property Partners and the Qatar Investment Authority.

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