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Dinner Series Where Refugees Cook (And Get Profits) Is Growing

Bigger dinners to break fast during Ramadan helps recently arrived refugees get on their feet

Spreadhouse Cafe
Melissa McCart is the editor for Eater New York.

The fundraising dinner series where refugees make food — and use the profits to get back on their feet — is getting even bigger with a new feast at a new cafe later this month.

The Displaced Dinner series, first hosted at Mazeish Grill, will move its June dinners to Spreadhouse Cafe (116 Suffolk Street) for both a bedouin-style seated dinner, and a five-course dinner for $59 per person. The meals will be on June 16th and June 30th.

The series, initially a grassroots fundraiser that only sat ten people, started last month with Lutfi Mohammed, a refugee originally from Damascus who cooked items like batata harra, kibbe, and makloube. He has chronicled his leaving Syria in 2005, and he finally arrived in the U.S. with the help of United Nations International Organization for Migration five months ago. He credits the dinners with helping him get on his feet — since they started, he has found housing and a full-time job as a merchandiser.

Displaced Dinner series was conceived by Nasser Jab, Mazeish's owner, and Jabber Al-Bihani, the founder the platform Komeeda, in an effort to humanize and provide financial assistance to newly-arrived refugees.

Throughout the month, refugees from Central America and Russia will also be introduced as cooks for future dinners. Proceeds go to the chef/refugee’s efforts and the United Nations Relief Workers Program. Tickets are available here.