Newcomer Kitchen project gives Syrian refugees a taste of home in Toronto

The Globe and Mail Toronto - Ms. Fakhereddin arrived in Toronto just a week ago to join her son, who has been here a year. The two are Syrian refugees sponsored by members of the United Church of Canada, and they are keenly aware that they haven’t gone through the hardships that many others in the kitchen have, most of whom are on government assistance.

Len Senater runs the Depanneur, an informal kitchen in Toronto’s Annex area hosting culinary experiments of all kind. His newest project was founded on a simple idea: bringing Syrian women into a large, shared kitchen so that they could cook meals for their families while they were stuck in hotels on arrival.

In the few weeks since it began, the idea has expanded into a weekly pop-up event, made open to the public.

“By leveraging the popularity of pop-up dining, we’re clearing the path to the amazing latent talent that is in this community, so they can find a way to monetize their skills in a way that is dignified and equitable,” Mr. Senater says.