There are few better ways to connect with people than to cook for them.
A supper club in Edinburgh is proving this age-old adage (it may not be an adage, but it’s true!), by giving refugees in the Scottish city the opportunity to cook Middle Eastern cuisine for the local community.
The Syrian Supper Club, which was launched in 2018, provides attendees with a night of delicious Syrian dishes, conversation and entertainment. Guests leave with a full stomach and new friendships.
The supper club is the creation of husband and wife team Qays Dukhan and Noura Selibi, who say the events have allowed them to connect with the people around them.
Noura, who has lived in Edinburgh with Qays and their two children for almost a year, explained the club to The Edinburgh Reporter:
“Taking part in the supper clubs brings me great joy as it gives me the opportunity to share my food with new people and I love to see them enjoying it. I don’t have a job here in Edinburgh so the supper clubs give me the chance to practice my English and learn more about the culture.”
Noura and Qays host the club with the support of Cyrenians, a homelessness charity. The Supper Club is part of Cyrenians’ social enterprise programme, which helps newly arrived refugees pursue careers in the food industry. As part of the programme, Noura and Qays are paid for their time.
Along with staples like hummus and baba ganoush, guests have been served maqluba (which translates to “upside-down”), a pot of stew and rice that is flipped out like an upside-down cake before serving; fattoush, a salad comprised of flatbread and seasonal vegetables; and baklava for dessert.
Like all great dinner parties, the dishes serve as a vehicle for conversation and connection, something that many refugees miss out on when they arrive in a new country.
In Edinburgh at least, the Syrian Supper Club is changing this by bringing people together and creating a stronger community. It’s been so effective that all upcoming events are sold out.
Luckily, Noura and Qays will be hosting more.
For information about future Syrian Supper Club events, click here.