Feast for Freedom

Hamed Allahyari shares three Persian recipes close to his heart

The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre’s Feast for Freedom returns this March, with more than 700 people expected to host a “Feast” in their home or workplace in aid of people seeking asylum.

Now in its second year, Feast for Freedom is an annual fundraising event celebrating food, culture, community and the things that unite us, while raising vital funds for the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC), an independent not-for-profit supporting refugees and people seeking asylum.

From Thursday 19 through to Sunday 22 March everyday people around Australia will cook up a storm and host their friends and family for a Feast inspired by the recipes and stories of people seeking asylum. While the majority of Feasts will be held between these dates, Feasts can take place after this date.

This year’s Feast will feature recipes from Ethiopia, Papua New Guinea and Iran, lovingly gifted by the event’s featured cooks Genet, Veronica and Hamed. Hamed Allahyari, one of Feast for Freedom 2020’s hero cooks, has gifted three Persian recipes close to his heart.

Hamed fled Iran in 2012 for a chance at safety in Australia and now calls Melbourne home. A chef by trade, in July of last year he opened Cafe Sunshine & Salamatea, a café and restaurant serving delicious Persian meals and providing stable employment to refugees and people seeking asylum.

Cooking is my passion and I love feeding people. In Iran I ran a restaurant, but I had to leave everything behind. When I came to Australia, ASRC became my second home. I volunteered in their kitchen and the people were so kind to me, they always tried to teach me English. Now I am running a restaurant and cafe employing other people seeking asylum. I hope people enjoy these recipes, they are my favourites.

One of the dishes Hamed has shared this year is a particularly special recipe for his father’s yoghurt dip lovingly named Dadami Dip and directly translating to ‘from my father’, along with a fragrant Jewelled Saffron Rice. “In our culture rice is very important. We have it when the whole family comes together, for dinners, weddings, birthdays. It is a food of celebrations. It is my favourite and I wanted to share my recipe for it with everyone!” This event is truly a celebration of refugees and Australia’s cultural diversity and an opportunity to celebrate what unites us.

Join the thousands of people breaking bread together during this year’s event by registering to host your own feast at feastforfreedom.org.au or call 1300 692 772.

The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) is an independent not-for-profit offering more than 40 holistic programs that support people seeking asylum, helping to protect them from persecution and destitution. The ASRC encourages well-being and dignity, and empowers people to advance their own future.

ERIN LEACH