A group of crack female chefs from across Australia will come together and volunteer their time on August 12 for #CookForSyria, a dinner to raise money for the millions of children affected by the conflict in Syria. Chefs will give their signature dishes a Syrian spin for the evening.
Cooking on the night will be Nomad head chef Jacqui Challinor, Julie Niland (Saint Peter), Claire Van Vuuren (Bloodwood), Emma McCaskill (Sparkke at The Whitmore, SA), Thi Li (Anchovy, Victoria), Shannon Martinez (Smith & Daughters), Sharon and Carol Salloum (Almond Bar), Jaci Koludrovic (Icebergs Group), Isabelle Caulfield (Poly), Federica Andrisani (Fico Dining), Imogen Czulowski (Africola), Palisa Anderson (Boon Luck Farm, Boon Cafe) and Sarah Knights (Automata). Sixpenny’s Bridget Raffal and Nomad’s Sam Payne will be on sommelier duties, while Momofuku Seiobo’s Kylie Javier Ashton and Africola’s Nikki Friedl will be running the floor.
The four-course meal will include matching wines. All food and booze has been donated, meaning every cent will go towards Unicef Australia’s Syria Crisis Appeal. Unicef Australia’s Ambassador for Nutrition Adam Liaw will host the evening, and Four Corners journalist Sophie McNeill will be the guest speaker.
The Syrian conflict has been going on for nine years, impacting more than eight million children who are in need of clean water, vaccinations, education and mental-health support. #CookForSyria was founded in the UK by London-based Australian Instagrammer Clerkenwell Boy, in association with Suitcase Magazine and Unicef Next Generation London. It began as a supper club for a group of food-loving mates who would celebrate Syrian cuisine and raise money.
“Having travelled to the Zaatari Refugee Camp near the border with Jordan and Syria, I have seen first-hand the enormous struggles they continue to face and how UNICEF’s work continues to support them,” said Liaw in a statement. “Food is such a huge part of Syrian culture – it brings a sense of normalcy to their new everyday routine and provides hope for one day being able to return to their old life.”
Since launching in London in 2016, the #CookForSyria movement has released a cookbook and its supper clubs have spread around the world. This will be the second time Sydney has hosted the fundraising meal. Throughout August and September, restaurateurs, chefs, bakers and cafes around the country are invited to put a Syrian twist on their signature dishes and donate at least $5 from the sale of each dish.