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Cooking with chef Fabienne Viner-Luzzato

From start to finish, Female Voices Feast at JW3 was filled with laughter and women bonding over their love of cooking. It was an evening of food and conversation, bringing together women from different beliefs and backgrounds to cook, eat and share food stories. The event in January was the second of two events run by 3FF in partnership with JW3 and Rabia’s Garden and supported by Near Neighbours.

Throughout the evening, women were invited to participate in the cooking and preparation of a vegetarian Tunisian feast lead by French chef Fabienne Viner-Luzzato. The exotic and flavourful dishes included shakshuka, samosas, and many more. Laurie, who attended the event, said:

‘Everyone always enjoys food events and have an emotional connection by cooking together. It kind of reaffirms the bond that we have as a community.’

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Artist and poet Sophie Herxheimer

Women were also invited to pay artist and poet Sophie Herxheimer a visit, and tell her a food-story from their life. Sophie used ink to capture the stories by writing them out and drawing portraits and images from the accounts recited. Each piece was unique and portrayed beautifully. By the end of the evening the wall was filled with many of the women’s stories in the room, some were quirky and funny, some were very poignant, and others light-hearted and heart-warming. Jenny, one of the participants, said:

‘My favourite moment was when the artist drew my food story. It was quite emotional to go back to my childhood through a food experience’.

The Female Voices space soon became filled with delightful aromas and conversation. There were many opportunities to make connections with new people. According to Samia, one of the women who attended the night:

‘Interfaith events, especially for women only, gives you a safe space, a comfortable environment to just have conversations, whereby outside you might not approach people from other backgrounds’.

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Sharing personal food stories

The evening culminated with everyone sharing and enjoying the feast they had made together. The once bustling kitchen quietened down. Women covered the tables with vibrant fabric, put out table settings, lit tea lights, and hung fairy lanterns. The lights were dimmed and the spread of delicious food was laid out to eat. By the time of the feast, the walls were covered with food-stories that had been created throughout the evening. Tessa, one of the visitors, expressed her appreciation for the event:

‘When I arrived here I did not know anybody at all, but very soon I found myself on the edge of a conversation. I have spoken to so many women here tonight. It has been incredible and it is such a nice thing to do around the activity of cooking. Food is a great way to connect’.

Enjoying the feast

Enjoying the feast

Chef Fabienne shared her thoughts about the night:

‘After what happened in Paris, I told my mother that I was here tonight and she started crying on the phone saying that what I was doing was amazing. It is amazing to believe that things can happen, that peace can be brought up by women in such a strong vibe. This is what we want to achieve. We want to be together as women and to create a better world’.