Our mission is to create community and a pathway to employability for people from refugee backgrounds using food as the tool kit. A destination that leverages food so people can eat, cook, learn and most importantly, belong.
We are a UK non-profit organisation based in Athens, founded in 2021.
Saffron Kitchen Project (SKP) was started to address a problem; the refugee community and vulnerable people are facing many obstacles such as lack of food, job opportunities as well as inadequate social inclusion.
Our solution is to create a path to employment through vocational and hospitality training as well as providing meals and job opportunities.
Our team, built of hired chefs coming from the refugee community, admin staff and dedicated volunteers ensure the smooth running of the project, upholding our values and solidarity with other actors on the ground.
SKP’s current culinary headquarters are provided by ANKAA Project in the diverse neighbourhood of Kypseli. Collaboration is the cornerstone of any good initiative, for this reason, in order to make SKP as successful as we can be, we collaborate with other organisations based in Athens, allowing us to have the greatest reach possible.
Meet the team…
Founder & Director
Evelina's six years in the food industry, working and training in restaurants and ultimately setting up her own catering company, helped her to recognise the importance of food and the joy it can bring to people. She spent the following five years working in humanitarian aid, running a warehouse in a refugee camp and setting up as well as managing an education and community centre. This helped refine her aptitude in working with vulnerable people and running teams of staff and volunteers. All of this experience has equipped her with the necessary skills to start Saffron Kitchen Project, whose goal is to provide both opportunity, and a sense of community, for refugees and vulnerable people.
Her favourite meal is pasta cooked by someone else (obviously by someone who can cook pasta).
Konstantina has an educational background in psychology. Since 2016 she has been working at the Child Protection sector of Humanitarian Aid providing support to refugee children and families. As a coordinator of psychoeducational programs she always aimed to enhance the resilience and the life skills both of the minors and the field workers. She believes in the importance of safe space and recreational activity for healing after trauma experiences, and food can provide that comfort. From our Day 1 we learn that food is care, and care is what we need when being in a difficult situation. We can either focus on what we have in front of us at here and now (basic rules of mindfulness) or let it guide us to the memories that eating it brings up. Apart from providing us with energy, food can warm our hearts and bring people together. That’s why she decided to join the SKP team!
Konstantina enjoys cooking after a hard day as it makes her relax and nurse herself. Her comfort food is pasta, but she will rarely say no to a souvlaki!
As a young boy growing up in Damascus, Syria, Adel would try to cook with his mother, but she usually kicked him out of the kitchen because he was too messy. Nevertheless, he went on to graduate from culinary school and began working in restaurants in 2005, making his way from assistant to chef. In 2011, Adel left Syria for Egypt, where he continued working in restaurants. He came to Europe in 2015 and volunteered with the NGO Meet ’n Eat in Berlin. SKP is his first job cooking in Athens and he is excited to help the project grow.
Adel’s favourite meal is mandi, a yellow rice, chicken, and tomato sauce dish, which his mother taught him to make.
Before coming to Greece, Kimuli worked for over ten years providing support to street children in Kampala, Uganda. He founded and served as one of the directors of Hope Street Uganda. When he arrived on Samos in 2018, he volunteered with Project Armonia, cooking nutritional food for vulnerable refugees. He feels proud to be part of the SKP team, doing something that gives him not only joy but also professional experience. While working here he continues to provide support in Uganda, and is currently fulfilling his dream of building a home for street children and orphans in Kampala.
Kimuli believes food should be nutritious and provide energy, and his favourite meal is vegetables with rice.
Mohamed’s favourite meal is Mahshi, a traditional Middle Eastern dish consisting of spiced rice stuffed into vegetables.
Jonny co-founded Refugee Youth Service in 2016 and sister organisation Velos Youth in 2017. With a background in small business and grassroots NGO leadership, Jonny enjoys the entrepreneurial and operational sides of humanitarian and development work. He joined Saffron Kitchen Project in order to share the lessons learnt and insight developed over the past few years, from working in the grassroots of Greek civil society.
Johnny's favourite meal is pumpkin lasagne, especially when smoked cheese is involved!
She is an art dealer with many years of experience in charity work in different places from India, Afghanistan to Tibet as well as Europe. Fausta's knowledge covers fundraising and strategy, and she brings with her a lot of creativity.
Having seen first hand in camps in Greece how food is essential to people’s wellbeing in dire situations she strongly believes in the importance of SKP’s role in the refugee context.
Her favourite meal is Risotto alla Milanese, soft, creamy, soothing and comforting, shining with the happiest of colours, yellow saffron!
Katina’s professional experience includes a degree in law, working in media and advertising, running NGOs within the Greek context and being slightly obsessed with Excel.
Her eagerness to be part of the Saffron Kitchen Project stems from her belief that it provides both an immediate solution by providing nurturing meals and in the longer term enables people to develop real skills with genuine job and integration opportunities. It is to her a perfect example of an organisation supporting the community to organically grow (no pun intended).
Katina’s favourite meal is most things cooked by her mother!
She is a co-founder of the Greek/Austrian organisation Echo100Plus. Having had the experience of setting up an NGO herself, Gabi believes she can contribute with her realistic outlook, attention to detail and familiarity of working within Greece.
Gabi trusts in the Saffron Kitchen Project's ability to bring people together through cooking and opportunity with a long-lasting effect.
Her favourite meal is aubergine imam bayildi, it’s seasonal food at it’s best!