Four Brave Women is one of Sydney’s more interesting cafes. For weekday lunch it serves an ongoing Ethiopian buffet menu run by Adiam Tefer, and on Friday and Saturdays, a rotating roster of food determined by who’s running the kitchen at the time.
How it works is every eight weeks a team of recently arrived refugees are selected to work at the cafe and cook the food of their homeland. The idea is to train them with hospitality skills so they can find sustainable employment or start their own businesses.
“Refugees often don't have a place to do work experience, or they don't have the money to start a business. There's a lot of barriers,” says Bindi Lea who, with not-for-profit The Trading Circle, runs training programs to empower women by creating economic and educational opportunities for them. It does this via workshops in schools, as well as providing mentorships to teach business and life skills.
From today (Friday 29 June), the second team slides into the Four Brave Women kitchen, and will be introducing Sydney to Georgian and Eastern European food.
Yulia and Iana already run The Magic Tablecloth, a catering company that celebrates the unique cultural culinary heritage of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe – countries such as the Ukraine, Georgia, Russia and Israel.
On the menu is ajapsandali, a tomato-based stew made with eggplant, chunks of potatoes, onion and herbs; a thick bean stew with herbs, spices, garlic and onion called lobio; and chahohbili, a traditional Georgian dish of stewed chicken with crushed tomatoes, saffron, coriander seeds and fresh herbs. They’re all gluten-free, mostly vegan and are served buffet style. For $2 you can get a mchadi (traditional cornbread) on the side. (As they settle in there’s plans to add sweets and more dishes to the menu, too.)
The model has recently changed and now the lunch service is shared between the groups of chefs, with Tefer serving Ethiopian lunch Mondays to Thursdays (also breakfast), and Yulia and Iana serving Georgian lunch and dinner on Fridays and Saturdays.
Trading Circle has plans to run events at night during the week and, of course, during the day its fair-trade products are available for purchase, with the money going towards its endeavours.
Four Brave Women
26 Lackey Street, Summer Hill
0427 792 121
Ethiopian Hot Buffet Breakfast
Mon to Fri 7am–11am
Ethiopian Buffet Lunch
Mon to Thu 11.30am–2.30pm
Georgian Buffet Lunch
Fri & Sat 11.30am–2.30pm
Georgian Buffet Dinner
Fri & Sat 5.30pm–9.30pm
Fair Trade Coffee and Snacks
Mon to Fri 7am–2.30pm