Jollof rice today, UK chef tomorrow
Hassan’s grandfather used to own a restaurant in Mali where he taught him the basics of cooking. That’s where his love of food comes from. He does his best to keep that passion alive in Calais, but with so many police evictions and with food distributions still illegal in the town centre, it’s not easy. What he really wants is to honour his grandfather’s memory by finding work as a chef in the UK someday.
Tonight Hassan will be using rice, tinned tomatoes and spices from our food pack to cook jollof rice for ten of his friends. It’s a popular West African dish that Hassan can’t get enough of. “Once you experience the tastes and flavours of African food you will never want to eat anything else again,” he tells me. I believe him, but I wish I could stick around to try it for myself. Maybe one day I’ll be able to visit his restaurant in England.
Refugees in Calais like to share the food packs we give out amongst each other and usually pick a different person to cook for a large group every day. Unlike a pre-prepared meal, this allows them to sit together by the fire each night to make whatever they please and to recreate the flavours of their home countries. Hassan is proof of how creative they can get with just the basics.
Today we gave out 130 food packs to people in Calais, which will feed more than 500 people over the next few days. But more refugees are arriving in the city, so demand for our packs is growing.
Please help us keep people fed during this difficult time by contributing at care4calais.org/emergency-appeal