Multi Kulti Kitchen
Type of Information
Multi Kulti Collective
Bistra Ivanova (Login to send email)
Contact Person Function
Multi Kulti Kitchen is an informal platform providing oppotunities for joint cooking, tasting of foreign cuisines, and cultural exchange for Bulgarians and foreigners in Bulgaria. The aims of Multi Kulti Kitchen are to support the integration of foreigners in Bulgarian society and teach tolerance towards the different immigrant and refugee cultures.
Issue/Challenge and Goal/Assumption
Bulgarian society is fairly homogenous and there are not many opportunities to encounter migrant communities. There is a rise in far right sentiments and the debate around migration is often misinformed. Most Bulgarians have no idea of the challenges those communities encounter trying to integrate into Bulgarian society. Informing the host community of the rich cultural (and economic) contribution that migrants make will counter stereotypes and, by word of mouth, create a more tolerant host society. Integration is a two-way process and Multi Kulti Kitchen serves as a medium for creating a cultural exchange, enriching Bulgarian society and enhancing integration prospects of migrants.
How does it work
Once a month Multi Kulti Kitchen organises events which are hosted by representatives of different migrant communities. The team plans these events together with them and the migrant community has ownership of the event, having input in all aspects from the posters to the presentation and menu. They cook traditional national dishes, talk about their country and culture, display traditional clothes and jewelry in front of Bulgarian audience. The hosts of the event, as well as all the organisers, helpers and participants, are volunteers. The recipes, presentations and photos from the events are shared on the Multi Kulti Kitchen website (both in Bulgarian and English) and via its Facebook group.
- Multi Kulti Kitchen gives the opportunity to migrant communities to present their country, which all hosts have shared has made them proud and happy, and has felt like a celebration for that community.
- The relaxed, friendly and informal Multi Kulti Kitchen events are the start of many friendships and partnerships. There people find out about each other, overcome stereotypes by having the opportunity for an open and informed debate directly with the migrant community, and develop an understanding of the integration challenges faced by migrants and readiness to support them.
- Multi Kulti Kitchen events offer the unique chance to gourmet cooking fans to try our different cuisines, spices and drinks.
- Multi Kulti Kitchen supports the economic integration of migrants, by providing an opportunity for showcasing restaurants and food outlets run by migrants.
- FB group: over 300 members
- Events: each attended by 80 to 100 people; so far 9 events
- Website: 1500 unique visits per month
As Multi Kulti Kitchen is an informal initiative, the team does not carry out structured formal evaluation. However, in addition to the above outputs and outcomes, the following appraisals have been shared about the initiative:
- Migrant communities:
- "It feels like a celebration of our culture and a festive day for our whole community" (MKK Kurdistan);
- "We feel like ambassadors for our countries" (MKK Dominican Republic);
- "It is a good opportunity to show that our cuisine is much more varied than people assume" (MKK USA)
- "I have learned so much about different cultures and countries, which I had no idea before."
- "Had no idea how difficult it is for foreigners to fit into our society."
- "MKK has enriched my culinary knowledge."
- Much interest from local media e.g. One week in Sofia
- National media: NOVA TV
- Culinary publications: BBC Good Food
Who will benefit?
- Migrant communities including asylum seekers, refugees, EU citizens, third country nationals
Source of funding and Resources used
Multi Kulti Kitchen is run and supported entirely by volunteers. The small core organizers team, the representatives of the migrant communities hosting the events, and all helpers and participants, are volunteers. Everyone does things in their own time, dedicating skills, contacts and energy.
The events are self-financing: participants pay an entrance fee, which covers the cost of the food ingredients.
Partners include: UNHCR, CERMES, (both of these have sponsored events on an ad-hoc basis), the Council of Refugee Women in Bulgaria, the Bulgarian Red Cross, Arabis, the Art hostel, the Tea house.