Aussie cooking on the menu

• Refugees and tradies show off their new kitchen. Photo by Jeremy Dixon

• Refugees and tradies show off their new kitchen. Photo by Jeremy Dixon

Traumatised refugees are learning to cook healthy Aussie grub in Perth.

The classes, organised by the Association for Services to Torture and Trauma Survivors, help refugees to socialise and forget their troubled pasts.

People from countries such as Afghanistan, Sudan, Iran and Iraq are flocking to the classes.

Nutritionist Rachel Pearce is trying to wean refugees off traditional dishes that use lots of salt and oil.

“I’m trying to get them to explore more healthy options using herbs and less oil in their cooking,” she says.

“We cook mostly vegetarian dishes because Hindus don’t east beef, Muslims don’t eat pork and Tamils don’t eat much protein at all.

“We do vegetarian burritos and soups, but the Aussie parmie is a bit hard—because it’s deep-fried!”

Until recently, ASETTS was staging lessons with a rickety, makeshift stove.

Local businesses, including The Kitchen Factory, Harding Plumbing and Outtrim Electrics, came to the rescue and installed a flash new kitchen for free.

“The kitchen means we can cook a bigger variety of meals and more people can attend the classes,” Ms Pearce says.

“The classes are a good way for refugees to get settled in the community and forget about whatever traumatic experience they have been through.”

Refugees travel from Perth’s outer suburbs, including Mirrabooka, Gosnells and Kwinana, to attend ASETTS’ classes in Beaufort Street.

The classes are held during term time in eight-week blocks.


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