A Brisbane restaurant owner has taken her passion for social enterprise to the next level by launching a program which aims to equip asylum seekers with hospitality skills.
Annie Bingly owner of Milton based restaurant Mongrel Bar and Kitchen has launched the initiative in partnership with global hospitality equipment funding solution SilverChef and Queensland based asylum seeker support organisation Asylum Circle.
The Mongrel Good Food Project hopes to equip asylum seekers with skills in hospitality to improve their job prospects and ease social isolation. Bingly says more often than not asylum seekers are fleeing persecution. They arrive in Australia with little more than the clothes on their back and their job prospects are usually limited. Her ultimate goal is to see the work practices of the Good Food Project delivered industry-wide. She hopes that in doing so she will be able to provide valuable support to these frequently marginalised members of the workforce.
Six candidates from the Asylum Circle program recently completed four days of intensive training at Mongrel Bar and Kitchen, where they mastered a range of key front and back of house skills including knife skills, kitchen etiquette, menu planning and cooking, barista training and bar service.
The training culminated in a sold-out fundraising dinner where the participants showcased their new skills as they prepared and served a three-course meal to the public, with all funds raised being donated back into the Asylum Circle initiative.
Bingly hopes the event is the first of many successes for the program.
“The way we see it – hospitality is the perfect industry to help asylum seekers who are looking to enter the workforce. People in hospitality are often on varying visas, often transient and very multicultural.”
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