A new Sligo Supper Club launched by Sligo Global Kitchen members and The Model goes down a treat!

Photograph: Brian Farrell

Back row:  Arle Bell Gallardo, Bouchta Kharchach, Catherine Kabiyona
Front row: Shorai Mpande, Brid Torrades, Rosemary Chilufiya, Kathleen Mangwany

Sligo Global Kitchen (SGK) is an art and food project funded by the Community Foundation for Ireland, in partnership with The Model. Sligo Global Kitchen welcomes everyone in the community, especially those living in direct provision to come together to share a meal. Since its inception in 2015, SGK has garnered a reputation not only as a key player in community integration but also as a unique and inclusive dining experience, preparing and serving delicious cuisine from around the world to friends, family and newcomers alike.

Building on their popularity and success, The Model is now supporting SGK in the development of an exciting new intiative, the “Sligo Global Kitchen Supper Club.” This iniative will see local chef Brid Torrades working with nine members of Sligo Global Kitchen to enhance their skills and expertise.

‘In the future, the goal will be to hopefully open a business’, said Shorai Mpande, who is (along with Sidonie Siwe Leunde) one of the original members of SGK. Essential skills like barista training, customer service, budgeting, marketing sales, food preparation and presentation will aid that dream in becoming a reality. Those involved are cooks Catherine Kabiyona, Mabel Chah, Bouchta Kharchach, Arle Bell Gallardo, Kathleen Mangwanya, Rosemary Chilufiya, Elvis Lyon, Sidonie Siwe Leunde and Shorai Mpande.

On 26th of April, Sligo Global Kitchen debuted some of their newly required skill set at the initiative’s pilot evening which saw SGK catering the opening of The Model’s new contemporary art exhibition, ‘Richard Bolhuis; Underground Bliss.’ The opening required a colossal amount of work from Sligo Global Kitchen, who served nearly 80 guests. The menu was designed to showcase the diversity of flavours and cultures that the members of Sligo Supper Club can serve up. As an appetizer, guests were treated to crispy fried plantain followed by a starter of Pasta alla Norma, a typical Sicilian dish. The main course consisted of an aromatic Cameroonian peanut stew served with roasted vegetables, moroccan hot rice salad and an SGK classic, jollof rice. Dessert was a delicious and deceptively simple dish of home-made banana ice cream, sponge cake and fresh fruit salad.

One of the key factors that differentiates the Supper Club from other Sligo Global Kitchen events is the way in which food is served. SGK endeavours to serve as much of the community as possible so serving the cuisine buffet-style makes perfect sense.The Supper Clubs, on the other hand, will cater for smaller gatherings restaurant style. Sligo Global Kitchen’s pilot supper club event last month presented a challenge that Sligo Global rose to beautifully. ‘It was very different,’ said Sidonie, ‘it was very professional. We are used to serving our food buffet style. In this event, we served starters, a main course and dessert.’ Catering the opening also allowed members of the Sligo Global Kitchen group to tease out any teething problems part and parcel of the creation of any new initiative. ‘The rice was not the usual rice we use,’ said Sidonie,’ the quality was different and we had to make the jollof rice completely vegetarian. We didn’t even use chicken stock!’ Although there may have been self-criticism from the cooks themselves, the dinner guests were more than happy with the meal. ‘The stew was very tasty and the dessert was refreshing,’ said Dean Foley. ‘It was all great,’ said fellow diner Sean Claney. With their debut catering event such a success, it looks like the sky is the limit for SGK’s new Supper Club initative.

The next SGK event to mark in your calendar is the Shanty Festival, 14th – 16th June, followed by Parkfest 7th July, to mark the opening event for Cairde Arts Festival 2019 and Beltra Country Market, also in July. To find out more about Sligo Global Kitchen’s supper clubs and other events, keep an eye on Sligo Global Kitchen’s Facebook page and The Model website for details. As places are limited, advance booking for the supper club is advised to avoid disappointment.

Sligo Global Kitchen is an initiative of The Model in partnership with asylum seekers, refugees and Sligo’s new communities. It is funded by The Model and the Community Foundation for Ireland.