Cooking class for Sixth Form studying French

28 February 2024

On Sunday 25 February, 12 of our French A Level pupils headed off to central London to spend the day at Migrateful, a charity whose mission is to celebrate migrants and refugees on their journey to integration by supporting them in running their own cooking classes. Our thanks to Mrs Sabnis (Head of Modern Foreign Languages) for her write-up of the trip.

We were greeted by Meriam, an Algerian lady who spoke to our pupils in French about her journey in seeking asylum in the UK and then building her life with her family here and learning English. She spoke to us about her dream of being on MasterChef one day and how Migrateful has played a part in helping her to make that a reality.

Our pupils then tried their hands at following six traditional Algerian recipes from Meriam’s childhood. Amongst them were Chorba, a lamb and chicken soup which is traditionally eaten to break the Ramadan fast; Bourek, vegetable and cheese filo-wrapped parcels and Tamina, a sweet semolina-based treat often eaten to celebrate a birth! Meriam told us about how Algerians ‘mangent avec les yeux’ (eat with their eyes!) and showed us how to make flowers out of tomatoes and how to decorate Tamina with roses from the garden before we had a go ourselves!

Once the bourek were fried and the couscous steamed, we all sat down to tuck into the six dishes that everyone had helped to prepare. This offered another opportunity to hear about Meriam’s challenges in integrating and she offered sage advice about how to get to grips with a foreign language – be unafraid to make mistakes!

The A Level French course explores the likes of diversity and discrimination in the French-speaking world so it was particularly exciting to meet someone who could bring real anecdotes from their own life to our pupils.

The French cooking trip was not only really helpful in terms of learning different recipes,
but it was invaluable to understanding the wider scope of the Francophone world.

Meriam speaking in French was really helpful for practising our listening skills
but even more so in the content of the stories she told.

Her experiences of discrimination as an asylum-seeker were incredibly eye-opening
and really insightful into understanding more of French culture outside of what people would typically think of.

– Cathy, Lower Sixth

We were very proud to be the first group that Migrateful had taught in another language and it was wonderful to draw on the notion that food and languages really do bring people together.

Click here to learn more about Migrateful’s work.

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