Perspectives

Cooking for health and community – Chefugees Food Festival with Magedda

July 29 / 2019

Si vuelves a la cocina, vuelves al amor.

When Magedda is in the kitchen, she moves with confidence and ease. Managing a full kitchen, she moves from task to task, explaining chopping directions to volunteers, singing along to the music, and exclaiming with excitement how beautiful the ingredients look. As tonight´s master chef for the closing dinner of the Refugee Food Festival in Food Lab, Magedda and volunteers will be cooking for more than 50 people. Her goal is share Venezolano food that is healthy and balanced but representative of the diverse ingredients and culinary tradition of her country. She, however, is not worried. Cooking to her is about building relationships and creating health.

Magedda and mushrooms for vegetarian Arepas.

Fresh ingredients for tonight´s dinner.

The night before the big event, Magedda and I sat down to talk about her role in the Refugee Food Festival and the hosting organization, Chefugee. However, the conversation turned quickly to the best parts of cooking, recipe exchanging, and tips on how to make the best arepas. Magedda  moved here 5 months ago from New York City. In the US, she was involved in a cooking group, where she regularly created healthy and nutritious meals for her customers using her Venezuelan background as inspiration for ingredients (See more here).

Arepas are made from milled corn.

Making Arepas with her sister.

The Refugee Food Festival is in its 3 year here in Madrid. From June 13-June 22, 12 chefs from around the world participated in sharing their culture and tradition with the Madrid community through ingredients, taste and dining together. Coming from Syria, Ivory Coast, Venezuela, Iraq and Sudan, the chefs reveal how diverse the capital of Madrid is.  Creating opportunities such as this, the Madrid Refugee Food Festival, brings together people from different backgrounds to share a meal. Through this act of eating together, the festival and organization create new opportunities to discover the rich culinary and cultural heritage of different countries, as well as the unique experience of connection.

Avocados for guasacaca.

The team.

Unfortunately, the festival only lasts one week every year, however there are many ways to get involved like volunteering with Chefugee. Also, luckily for us, Magedda shared her recipe for Arepas.

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