Colombian cuisine rubbed shoulders with the favourite food of Jordan when Sunderland College hosted a workshop aimed at bringing together people from different nationalities over food this week.
The idea behind Kitchen Rituals is to show people how cooking and eating food together strengthens relations between individuals, families and communities.
The event, organised by the Sunderland Good Relations Programme which is funded through the Sunderland Partnership, is the first of its kind in the city.
But it is hoped it could be the first of many and that local chefs will be inspired to join in and help take the cookery workshops out into communities.
Among those there were women from Sangini, the Sunderland based women’s group which works with minority communities, representatives from the voluntary and community sector, asylum seekers and refugees.
Councillor Harry Trueman, Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “Food has a wonderful way of bringing people together and breaking down the barriers that might otherwise be there.
“You only have to look at the success of the recent Diwali and Chinese New Year celebrations in Sunderland to see this is the case so I think this is a really good idea and it hope it is something that can be developed and taken out into communities.”
The workshop was hosted by Sunderland College at its brand new multi-million pound City Campus, located at Park Lane in the city centre.
College principal Ellen Thinnesen, and Vikkie Morton, assistant principal, helped to cook up the traditional South American and Middle Eastern cuisine, with the assistance of students from the college’s catering courses.
Ellen said: “We were thrilled to host such a wonderful event that brought representatives from a range of cultures and nationalities together to learn about food and culture and to celebrate the diversity of our city.
“For personal and professional reasons I am deeply passionate about events such as Kitchen Rituals that help to promote a level of understanding about each other and facilitate collaboration, cooperation and inclusivity.
“At Sunderland College we recognise the richness that comes from strong, diverse and engaged communities and are committed to working with our valued community partners to ensure cultural diversity continues to contribute positively to social and economic development.”