When Global Kitchen met Radical Roasters
At the end of 2022, Loves in West Street connected with Trigger, a registered charity based in Bristol, to find out how they could be a part of Trigger’s pledge to create accessible, inclusive arts experiences for everyone, including support for asylum seekers in North Somerset to become more involved in the local community through creative activities. Before long, ‘Global Kitchen’ was formed, a weekly session at Loves, where a group of people finding themselves unable to return to their homelands or loved ones and living in temporary accommodation came together with Weston residents to cook, chat and enjoy the space to learn new skills.
In March, Theatre Orchard/Culture Weston secured funding from North Somerset Council’s ‘Community Food Grant’ so that Anna and Josh from Loves could continue to run these sessions in Weston-super-Mare that have really helped to break down barriers among asylum seekers and local folk – as a direct result of the sessions, ‘Global Kitchen’ has now cooked for the community on several occasions, on a voluntary basis, including at GLOW light festival in Grove Park (with Sprout) and at Good Grief Weston’s recent Festival Finale at Loves. Plus they showed off their skills at Joshua Idehen’s recent poetry performance, cooking food typical of their home countries of Afghanistan, India, Russia, Iran and Eritrea.
As well as sharing their love of food with each other and the wider community, the group learns new skills that may help them to eventually gain employment if they are ever granted Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK, which would give them the permanent right to live, work and study here. Last month, the wonderful Cat from Radical Roasters in Bristol, who runs free coffee workshops for marginalised people to promote more diversity in the coffee industry, was joined by Avery, who works at Ahh Toots at Bristol’s Christmas Steps, and together they ran a Barista training session. Although there are lawyers, engineers, armed and public service employees among the ‘Global Kitchen’ group, these qualifications are mostly invalid in the UK, and Barista training is something they could definitely use! So could I, so I joined in.
Loves is, of course, furnished with a top-notch coffee machine and we learned the names of the equipment (basket, handle, tamper), the difference between dark and light roasted coffee, the ideal ratio of coffee to water in a standard espresso cup and even where the beans come from and how they end up at our door. And, of course, we were shown how to make the perfect cup of coffee and everyone practised until we were satisfied we had got it right, making numerous drinks from mocha to flat white to cappuccino (Cat took us through the crucial difference between Britain’s favourite served up coffees and how much steamed milk versus froth each should have).
The session was a brilliant success and we all felt that we had gained a solid insight into life behind the coffee counter! A massive thank you to Cat and Avery for their passion and friendship. The barista training session ended, as all good ‘Global Kitchen’ meetups do, with a delicious spread of food – this time a very tasty roast dinner!
We hope to take the group to Bristol to visit Cat in her speciality, micro coffee roastery based in Easton! It’s good to get out and about.
I love a cup of coffee in my Chilli sin Carne, which also gives me the excuse to trot down to Weston’s Orchard Street to get some fresh chillies and coriander from Eastern Spice. It’s also well worth buying your spices from there – Sayd is so friendly and their packets of spices work out cheaper than the small supermarket jars. If you have time to soak your beans, they also do a great range of dried beans! For ease, I have used tinned beans in this simple recipe:
Chilli sin Carne
2 tins beans (whatever you have. I like black beans and kidney beans but have been known to use baked beans if that’s what’s in the cupboard)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 or 2 chillies (or more – depends how hot you like it), finely chopped
1 ancho/chipotle chilli or a teaspoon of flakes (if you have them!)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons oregano
250ml (1 cup) brewed coffee
A handful of fresh coriander, chopped (optional)
- Heat oil on medium flame and slowly cook onion until soft
- Add garlic, green pepper and chilli and cook for 1 minute
- Add dried spices & oregano and cook for 1 minute
- Add tomatoes, coffee and beans and cook on low heat for 30 minutes or until the sauce is thick and rich (you may need to take the lid off the pan)
- When cooked, serve with chopped coriander, if using.
Serve with whatever takes your fancy – rice, jacket potato, chips, tomato and onion salad (or salsa), tortilla chips. Maybe a little sour cream?