On 26th June, Welcome Merchant will host an extravagant 6-course degustation dinner at Erskineville Town Hall in Erskineville, with cuisines from Ethiopia, Syria and Sri Lanka. The chefs are from migrant and refugee backgrounds and will be preparing dishes inspired by their home countries and upbringings. Tickets are $130 per person, including a glass of wine presented on arrival, and 60% of ticket sales go to the chefs. If that’s not enough, there will also be live entertainment, from Syrian singer and oud player George Karam (https://www.sbs.com.au/language/english/audio/freedom-song-assyrian-refugee-depicts-escape-from-islamic-state-through-music) , the Samrawit Dancers (https://www.facebook.com/Samrawit-722203961128419/), made up of two Ethiopian-Australian dancers and Sri Lankan and Indian dancers from the Indian Dance School (https://indiandance.com.au/) .
Joining Racha’s Syrian Kitchen is Chef Krish from Bavan Foods. Krish is an asylum seeker from Sri Lanka and has been in Australia for over ten years. His mission to provide authentic home-style Sri Lankan food to Australian people has been met with sell out banquets and standout reviews for his cooking.
Joining them in the kitchen will be Chef Sara from Ethiopian Cuisine Wollongong, who caters and delivers delicious Ethiopian dishes in Wollongong. With no pre-existing Ethiopian restaurants or cafes in Wollongong, Sara started her business after many successful taste testing events with friends, who are now regular customers at her market stalls. She’s doing her first Curated Dining Experience with Welcome Merchant on May 29 in Thirroul, Northern Wollongong.
Also on 26th June at Erskineville Town Hall, before the 6-course feast, Welcome Merchant will run two refugee artist-led workshops. A charcoal and drawing workshop will be run by Raneen Shamon, award-winning young artist originally from Iraq. She will teach charcoal and pencil drawing , and a jewellery bead-making workshop will be run by Bilikis Gbadamosi, from Billiano Designs. She makes beautiful, Nigerian-inspired bead jewellery, currently sold at Sydney social enterprise, The Social Outfit and online at the Made by Many Hands marketplace.