New York Restaurants Open Kitchens to Refugee Chefs

The Refugee Food Festival, which runs from June 14 to 17, will feature Iranian chef Nasrin and Syrian chef Diaa Alhanoun, both refugees. Here's how you can eat their food.

refugee food festival
Porsena restaurant. Photo: Patrick McMullan/Getty Images

As many people in the restaurant industry grow increasingly vocal about immigrant and refugee rights, an NYC festival shows how chefs are making a tangible impact—and how diners can, too.

The Refugee Food Festival, which launches in New York City on June 14 and runs until the 17th, is a significant act of solidarity; three restaurants are opening their kitchens to two refugee chefs. Chef Nasrin, of Iran, and Diaa Alhanou, of Syria, will be hosting three unique dining experiences in the city, serving cuisine from their home countries.

Chef Nasrin will serve Iranian-inspired sandwiches all day today at Taïm, and the night of the 15th, she'll cook a menu at Le Coq Rico. Closing out the festival, Alhanoun will serve a Syrian feast at Porsena.

In honor of World Refugee Day, which is on June 20, fifteen cities around the world will also be hosting events that promote solidarity with refugees, including in Paris, Madrid, Athens, San Francisco, and Cape Town.

According to a press statement, the aim of the festival is to change the perception of refugees, boost their professional integration, and "gather citizens."

"We bring people together to showcase the skills and culinary heritage of refugee chefs from all over the world," reads the release. "A network of committed restaurant owners and citizens helps refugees integrate into the local workforce."

Chef José Andres, who has been particularly vocal about these issues, said in May, "I believe that one day all day immigrants and especially the undocumented ... one day they'll say we're going to stop doing anything until you recognize who we are, that we are not ghosts in the system but real people contributing to the American dream."

To support the festival and eat delicious food, you can book a table directly through the restaurant.

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