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Le Coq Rico
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

The Refugee Food Festival debuts in NYC this weekend

Written by
Jake Cohen

This weekend, two NYC restaurants are welcoming refugee chefs into their kitchens to prepare a special menu for the third annual Refugee Food Festival in commemoration of World Refugee Day. Le Coq Rico and Porsena will be having Iranian chef Nasrin and Syrian chef Diaa Alhanoun, respectively, to cook up a feast. And if you’re heading out of town this weekend, 13 cities worldwide will be hosting events for the festival, including Paris, Madrid, Athens, San Francisco and Cape Town.

The festival is looking to gather New Yorkers and help change their perceptions of refugees and their cultures, while aiding the integration of these refugee chefs into the local workforce. It’s poised to be a nice opportunity to sample some great food for an even greater cause. Check out the dishes joining the menus of these two restaurants below.

On Saturday, June 16, from 5pm-10:30pm, Nasrin will be preparing special Iranian dishes at Le Coq Rico ($69 for 3-course menu):

Starters ($17 each)

  • Tahchin (traditional rice cakes) with cucumber-yogurt sauce
  • Kashke bademjan (eggplant dip)

Mains ($39 each)

  • Chicken fesenjoon (pomegranate and walnut stew)
  • Vegetarian sour cherry rice

Dessert ($13)

  • Cake baklava with ice cream

On Sunday, June 17, from 5pm-10:30pm, Diaa Alhanoun will be serving Syrian staples at Porsena ($55 per person for a family-style menu):

Cold Mezze

  • Yalendji (grape leaves)
  • Hommus
  • Babaganoush

Hot Mezze

  • Kebbe with yogurt sauce
  • Mousakhan
  • Taboulet

Main Dishes

  • Tawuk (chicken) with garlic sauce
  • Syrian Beef Kebab with haricot verts, tomatoes, spices and rice


  • Basbousa (semolina cake)

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