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These Refugee Chefs Are Teaching Locals How To Cook Their Recipes From Home
At Über den Tellerrand refugee chefs share recipes from home, which they then cook and eat together with locals and fellow newcomers in the city.
Über den Tellerrand, which roughly translates to "Beyond the Plate," is a nonprofit organization in Berlin that connects refugees with local Berliners for meals and cooking classes.
I'm currently in Berlin so I decided to take part in one of the cooking sessions.
I enjoy cooking, but I usually do it only for myself or maybe my two flatmates at most. I've never cooked with or for a big group before, so I was pretty nervous and excited to see what it would be like.
We made a recipe for an Indian curry by Mudar al Sheich, a 32-year-old refugee from Syria, who has been working with Über den Tellerend for a few years now.
Here are some of the ingredients we used.
Before we got to chopping up our veggies, though, we had to go around the table and introduce ourselves.
After that, we got to work.
One thing I noticed about cooking in a big group is that it's definitely a whole lot quicker than when you are cooking by yourself. This meal would have probably taken me more than three hours to make on my own.
Although everyone was doing something different, it was a really great environment for socializing.
Here's Ghaith Hanki, a 25-year-old Syrian refugee who has been granted asylum in Germany for three years, delivering the chicken to al Sheich for the curry.
"I think food is very important for people, because they are thinking all the time about their stomachs and how they can feed themselves," al Sheich said. "So it's a good way to know people or to bring them together."
While the others were cooking, I helped Amir Firestone, a 23-year-old from Los Angeles, knead dough for Malawach, a Yemeni Jewish fried bread.
You're supposed to butter the table, and then spread the dough out as thinly as possible without ripping it, which I wasn't very good at.
Here's my terrible first attempt. I had to roll that one up and try again. Apparently kneading dough takes practice.
Hanki was a lot better at it than I was. Here he is tying it into a knot.
Noor Edres, a 26-year-old from Syria who has been in Berlin for four years said she loves Berlin because everyone is different: "You don't have a certain status to conform to and can just be yourself."
In the end, they still managed to cook the dough knot thing I had made, which was great.
By that point things were also starting to smell really, really good.
Chef al Sheich gave me a quick taste of the curry, which I can confirm tasted as good as it smelled.
Finally, it was time to eat.
The meal we cooked together was incredible. Everything looked and smelled amazing.