Gastrodiplomacy and the Refugee Food Festival

Abdell Baset is bringing the taste of Syria to Belgium by serving dishes like Molokhia. After finding out that he was going to be drafted into the Syrian army in 2015, he sought refuge in Europe. Now, he is bringing some of the traditional flavors of his home country to the Refugee Food Festival in Brussels.

Like World Refugee Day on June 20, the Refugee Food Festival seeks to bring attention to the plight of refugees but also hopes to give them a brighter future. According to Voice of America, "The hope is that the refugee cooks will find employment in the food industry, while also increasing cultural exchanges." Abdell Baset is happy for the chance to use traditional cuisine as a cultural bridge. He says, "When it comes to cooking like now...and I went to the people they were eating [and] they ask me about my life, how it was in Syria. So I think it’s a very nice opportunity to come together and share our points of views."

The full video is available on YouTube. The Voice of America website also offers an article on the topic here.

Refugee Cooks Take Over European Kitchens


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