Flavours of Hope helps immigrant and refugee women through food, cooking, and culinary traditions

The ultimate goal of the new local initiative is a food-based business incubator

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      A Vancouver resident dreams of creating a food-business incubator complete with mentorship and training for immigrant and refugee women from different cultural backgrounds.

      Trixie Ling is the founder of Flavours of Hope, which she describes as the city’s first social enterprise dedicated to helping immigrant and refugee women earn a living wage and build social connections through food, cooking, and the sharing of culinary traditions.

      “Food has the power to bring people together and break down social isolation and economic barriers for immigrant and refugee women,” Ling said in a statement. “Eating together and sharing stories can build relationships and create more diverse, inclusive and welcoming communities.”

      Building on the success of the first sold-out pop-up dinner, which featured Syrian and Mexican food, Flavours of Hope is hosting its second event on Saturday (April 7) at the Kitsilano Neighbourhood House. It’s called a Night of Syrian Feast, Music and Storytelling.

      Syrian mother-and-daughter duo Hayat and Carmen Aldakhlallah will create a meal of traditional cuisine based on their family recipes from Damascus. They two will also share their story of coming to Canada as refugees and how they hope to build their own catering business.

      “Food for us is hospitality,” Carmen said in the release. “Cooking our traditional Syrian food and teaching others has been a good way to meet new people and build relationships with Canadians.”

      Flavours of Hope is currently supporting the Aldakhlallahs and Angeles Canedo, who’s from Mexico, helping them gain Canadian work experience and earn an income while practising English and connecting with people through cooking.

      Ling, who has a Master’s degree in public policy, is a member of Groundswell, an alternative business school that creates social ventures and envisions a more just economy.