Cooking #WithRefugees Festival

In this year’s Cooking #WithRefugees Festival, gastronomy meets humanity and passion

Commemorating World Refugee Day, the Cooking #WithRefugees Festival returns to Athens from 17 to 20 June 2024, offering unique culinary experiences and celebrating the power of humanity and coexistence.

For one more year, the Festival, organized by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, in collaboration with its partners, blends Greek culinary traditions with the flavours and memories brought by refugee chefs living in Greece.

The chefs who join forces and share their passion this year in five restaurants and cafés across Athens will present original flavours and culinary combinations that take us on a journey through the cuisines of Afghanistan, Guinea, Iran, Iraq, and Nigeria.

The visitors of the Cooking Festival will have the opportunity, through the universal language of food, to live a unique experience and discover the talents, potential and dreams of refugees trying to integrate in Greece. The collaboration among the Festival’s chefs showcases the power of solidarity and inclusion, enabling those forced to leave their homelands to restart their lives with dignity and contribute to their new communities.

Κhane cooks together with Christoforos Peskias and Rita Kavvatha at Dopios restaurant

Monday 17 & Tuesday 18 June, after 6 p.m.

The Cooking Festival makes its debut with Khane Habdulla from Iraq on the bustling pedestrian street where Dopios mezze restaurant is located, a favourite among Athenians and foreign visitors alike. Khane will share the secret of the Kurdish version of the famous kubbeh, reminding Cypriot chef Christoforos Peskias of the koupes from his homeland. She will also collaborate with chef Rita Kavvatha to create a unique twist on the classic stuffed vegetables (dolma).

Diallo cooks together with Fotis Fotinoglou, Kleomenis Zournatzis, Giannis Markadakis at Seychelles restaurant

Tuesday 18 June, after 6 p.m.

At the familiar Seychelles restaurant, chefs Fotis Fotinoglou, Kleomenis Zournatzis, and Giannis Markadakis, known for creating elaborate dishes from pure ingredients sourced from small local producers, eagerly welcome Diallo Safaye from Guinea. Diallo’s refined flavours and the experience he has gained in Greece, combining local Guinean recipes with traditional Greek dishes and Italian cuisine, will find the perfect home in this restaurant. As its chefs say, Seychelles is a place where people love “gathering around a table, eating delicious and simple food and sharing stories.”

Μamadou cooks with Alexandros Charalabopoulos and Dimitris Stratis at Locali restaurant

Wednesday 19 June, after 6 p.m.

At Lokali, in its cool gravel-paved courtyard that has given Athenians an extra reason to stroll down the bustling streets of Psyrri, Mamadou Oury Diallo will introduce us to Guinea and the culinary richness of its seaside capital, Conakry. Chef Alexandros Charalabopoulos, together with chef Dimitris Stratis, will blend their playful menu with Mamadou’s talent, offering a variety of exotic flavours, from aromatic hibiscus juice and spicy ceviche to the authentic vegetarian dish Fouti lafidi.

Mahboubeh and Feyrouz-Eleni Kiltsiksi will blend their flavours at Feyrouz

Wednesday 19 June, 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.

In the heart of Athens, the Feyrouz family has been offering handmade, high-quality, contemporary street food for years. Their culinary creations are deeply rooted in the Balkan food of Constantinople and the spirituality of the levantine tradition.  Ms Feyrouz, the mother and cook of the growing Feyrouz team, originating from the historic city of Alexandretta, will be the perfect hostess for Mahboubeh Dorostkar from Iran and her aromatic recipes. Together, the two women will blend memories and flavours to create a unique street food experience, proving what Feyrouz holds dear in their relationship with guests: trust and safety.

Sardar and Thomas will greet us at Myrtillo café

Thursday 20 June, after 5 p.m.

On World Refugee Day, Cooking #WithRefugees participates in the “Our home, our neighbourhood” event at Ambelokipi – KAPAPS Park, in the framework of the Refugee Week Greece cultural festival. At the welcoming café and multi-purpose venue of the Social Cooperative Enterprise Myrtillo, where most of the staff are people with disabilities, Thomas Avlakiotis will join forces with Sardar Hasemi from Afghanistan in a collaboration with a special symbolic meaning. Don’t miss Thomas’s orange-infused pie and Sardar’s minced meat pies  and aromatic dessert with cardamom, all served with love!

Βlessing and Gogo Delogianni join forces at the Galiantra canteen

Thursday 20 June, after 6 p.m.

The dynamic cook Blessing Ibeakam, very experienced in dishes from her home country, Nigeria,  but also in African flavours in general, meets the vibrant canteen of Galiantra, known for offering some of the city’s most interesting street food. Chef Gogo Delogianni once again welcomes the Cooking #WithRefugees Festival and together with Blessing will lure us into the dilemma “Fried potatoes or fried plantains?” and much more at the happiest closing of the Festival.

This year, the Cooking #WithRefugees festival will host special parallel events outside Athens. Stay tuned for more details coming soon!

The Cooking #WithRefugees Festival is organized with the support of organizations that help refugees broaden their skillset, access opportunities and find their way into the labour market. We would like to thank METAdrasi, Saffron Kitchen Project, and refugee-led organization Hidden Goddess for their support, as well as Odyssea, which is implementing the vocational training programme of the Refugee Women Academy, an initiative of UNHCR and Piraeus Bank.

Visit the Festival and show your solidarity!

Make your reservation early by contacting the Festival’s restaurants directly. 

Take a photo of the dish you enjoyed, learn something from the chef who cooked it and share a message or a photo on social media (@UNHCRGreece, #WithRefugees) to show your support on this year’s World Refugee Day!

About World Refugee Day

World Refugee Day is an international day designated by the United Nations to honour refugees around the globe. It falls each year on 20 June and celebrates the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their homes due to conflict or persecution. World Refugee Day 2024 focuses on solidarity with refugees – for a world where refugees are welcomed, and on solutions to their plight – ending conflicts so they can return home in safety, and ensuring they have opportunities to thrive in their host communities.

This Press Release is available here.