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CrazyFruits » African/Caribbean/UK/GeneralDiscussions » Birmingham gets ready for Soul Kitchen

Birmingham gets ready for Soul Kitchen

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1OH Birmingham gets ready for Soul Kitchen on Sun 23 Mar 2014 - 19:54

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Image Text:
SOUL FOOD: Astro and Rustie Lee (centre) with chef Lorenzo Richards (right) and students at the launch of Soul Kitchen at South & City College
IF MUSIC be the food of love – cook on! We may be in the depths of winter, but organisers of Birmingham’s Caribbean Food Festival are already spicing things up for next June, when music and dishes will fuse together at this unique event.
It all starts now with Soul Kitchen, an innovative cookery competition for budding young chefs across the city who will be inspired to write songs to accompany their Caribbean dishes with help from reggae royalty Astro, of UB40.
Launched by South & City College, Birmingham, Soul Kitchen will hold a series of heats between now and next April, with the winners being announced at the festival in June.
Astro, aka trumpeter Terence Oswald, who helped UB40 to scores of chart hits during a glittering musical career spanning more than four decades, told the The Voice that cooking had always been his first love.
“I started off as a commis chef long before we launched UB40,” said Astro. “I still believe that this is still one of the greatest mediums to work in for job satisfaction. In the early days I even used to cook the band food on portable stoves.
“I come from a big family of boys and as children my Mum always taught us to cook as she felt it was very important for us never to have to depend on a woman for food!”
He added: “I’m looking forward to working with the youngsters and putting some good songs together.”
Rustie Lee, the original queen of Caribbean cuisine, will also be playing her part, and was at the launch of Soul Kitchen at South & City College.
She said: “Once you can cook you will never be hungry – it’s a great skill.”
Award-winning chef Loren-zo Richards, who runs the Wildmoor Oak Restaurant in Bromsgrove, and is also involved in the project said: “Today’s students are tomorrow’s chefs.
“It’s important too that the link with Caribbean food and the community is not lost, as traditionally that is what our food is all about.”
Elders from the Caribbean community will be passing on their secrets in a series of inter-generational events with the students. The Soul Kitchen launch included favourite songs such as Carry Me Ackee from Jamaica and Coconut Woman from Barbados.
Sardul Dhesi, deputy principal of South & City College, which has a restaurant open daily to the public run by its catering students, said: “We are celebrating the diversity of our communities with this event and offering our students the chance to try out a whole range of culinary skills.”
One of the event’s main sponsors is Oman-based businessman Khalid Al-Jabri, who was invited to Birmingham by Joan Blaney, CBE, who hosted his first visit to the city. The two met six years ago while working on a housing project in Tanzania.
Blaney said: “We were delighted that Mr Al-Jabri accepted our invitation to Birmingham when he was able to meet other festival organisers such as Mehendra Chauhan from City Centre Management and Rob Dudley, of marketing company Big Cat Group.”
She added: “Although Mr Al-Jabri is already pursuing business interests in London, he is keen to see what opportunities exist here in Birmingham and was therefore more than happy to sponsor our festival next year.”
He even had a poem written in honour of his visit by Ita Gooden, who was chosen last year to one of the 12 poets of 2012. The nurse and midwife helped to create a poem that was showcased in London’s Olympic Park and read by the thousands of visitors to the Games last year.
Other festival sponsors include East End Foods, Birmingham City Council, Birmingham College of Food, Blakeys Caribbean Food and Tropical Sun Foods.
Anyone wanting to get involved can contact Mykal Brown, Assistant Director Access to Further Education at South & City College: 0121 702 1037, or mykal.brown@sccb. ac.uk. Or www.facebook. com/WassifaShowcase

2OH Re: Birmingham gets ready for Soul Kitchen on Wed 26 Mar 2014 - 19:44

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