IN SUPPORT of charity, Freedom from Torture, The Great Street Feast returns this June to celebrate Refugee Week IN SUPPORT of charity, Freedom from Torture, The Great Street Feast returns on the 22 June 2023, for an evening of culinary delights from around the world.
Celebrating the healing power of food and cooking, the event will take place at BAFTA Piccadilly, and not
only will there be leading London chefs cooking alongside refugee chefs, but there will also be live
entertainment from comedian and author Alexei Sayle, and excitingly, Joanna Lumley will be in
conversation with broadcaster and charity patron John McCarthy CBE, who’ll be talking all about their food memories and stories from their travels.
The chef line up will include Paul Merrett, who has been an ambassador since 2010, “I’ve been helping to
run the Great Street Feast for many years now and it’s been wonderful watching it grow. I’m particularly
excited to be cooking alongside Yogi at this year’s event, who has come so far since fleeing his homeland and developed into a formidable chef. This event really captures what I love the most about cooking; people coming together to share food, tell stories and build communities.”
He will be joined by BAFTA’s Head Chef Anton Manganaro, Chaya Maya of Ottolenghi, Philip Juma of JUMA Kitchen, Cesar Garcia of Ibérica, and Cynthia Shanmugalingam of Rambutan in Borough Market. They’ll also be joined by chef Yogi, who’ll be sharing food from his homeland. He came to the charity after fleeing torture and persecution and had never cooked before arriving in London as a refugee.
After receiving support from Freedom from Torture, he rebuilt his life and trained as a chef, and is now a successful chef de partie at one of London’s top hotels, “When I came here as a refugee, I didn’t even know how to make a cup of tea! Always my mum and wife, they are the ones who did the cooking, but now I am cooking. Now I’m a chef, I’m very proud. Freedom from Torture helped with everything. The main reason I am here now today is because of them. Today I am happy. When I sit down and eat a meal with my family, I feel free. I enjoy every second. I love every day.”
Expect a silent auction too, filled with experiences and classes, from a private zoom call with Michael Palin, to exclusive tickets to the recording of QI (including a drink with Sandi Toksvig and guests in the green room), private dinner parties catered by top chefs, and dining experiences at Nessa, Rüya London,
Parakeet, Gouqi, Bread Ahead and more.
Alongside this, refugee chef Nafa will be running a survivor shop where you’ll be able to pick up hand-
decorated batik aprons, Nafa’s famous curry powder, Sri Lankan pineapple chutney, and the ‘Recipes from Home’ cook book, featuring recipes from Sri Lankan survivors of torture.
An event to coincide with Refugee Week – the world’s largest arts and culture festival, which will also be
celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, Enver Solomon, Refugee Council CEO and Refugee Week Co-
Chair says, “There isn’t a more important time for Refugee Week to exist. The importance of Refugee Week is that it seeks to raise the issue right across the country, and across communities, recognising that at the very core, it is a human issue. It’s about who we are as people, who we are as communities, and who we are as a country. Let us come together and celebrate one another.”
by Felicity Carter