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Flavors from Afar and the Tiyya Foundation Empowers Refugee, Asylee, and Low-Income Immigrant Families


[The following mid-year update was written by the organization and then sent to us for further sharing.]

We’ve been busy at Flavors from Afar and are excited to share the milestones we’ve achieved in the past six months.

Since receiving the LA2050 grant in September, we’ve reached our big goal of completing renovations and are in the final stages of preparations at our vibrant new space in East Hollywood! Our Los Angeles site is the new home to both Flavors from Afar and Tiyya's Los Angeles office, allowing us to deepen our connection with the community and amplify our impact. We recognize the power of having our foundation onsite will enable guests to witness firsthand the transformative work we undertake to empower families of refugees, asylees, and low-income immigrants in Los Angeles and Orange County.

As we put the finishing touches on our new space, we're excited to unveil our diverse lineup of chefs for 2024, featuring culinary talents from Eritrea, Navajo Nation, Persia, Haiti, Congo, Lebanon, and beyond. In the meantime, we recently launched our catering services, going back to our roots, and we encourage you to consider Flavors or hiring one of our chefs for your next dinner party or event! The word continues to spread and we were incredibly honored to cater the inaugural United Nations Women's Peace and Humanitarian Fund gala and our work has garnered some wonderful media attention in The Guardian, First we Feast Food Heroes, and The Loss Encounters podcast!

One of the most exciting aspects of our growth is the launch of our expanded culinary program, including the long-awaited Refugee Culinary Training program. The 8-week, no cost, program will equip our participants with the fundamental skills and certifications required to secure employment in commercial kitchens and secure employment throughout Southern California. By fostering an environment that champions innovation, connection, and inclusivity, we aspire to shape a culinary landscape in Los Angeles that embraces and celebrates the unique flavors and traditions immigrants and refugees bring from their home countries. We strive to create not just skilled professionals but also leaders who contribute to a more prosperous culinary community.

With the momentum of the LA2050 win, our Founder, Meymuna Hussein-Cattan, has been actively engaging with the community to raise awareness about our work. In addition to being UCI’s commencement keynote speaker and speaking at Employ California’s Women Entrepreneurs Social, she received the following honors: Orange County Inspirational Women Forum and Leadership Awards honoree, Stevie Women in Business Award, KCET & PBS 2023 Local Hero, Causeartist 50 Social Entrepreneurs to Watch for in 2024, and a Comerica Bank Women’s Business Awards December 2023 Honoree - go Meymuna!

In February, Flavors hosted Tiyya’s inaugural Quinceañera for trans asylum seekers. This very special event was created to show our love and appreciation for trans womxn fleeing violence and housing insecurity as well as celebrate several Quinceañera traditions. We celebrated nine asylum seekers in an event that exemplified our commitment to inclusivity and solidarity, showcasing the power of food and culture to unite people from all walks of life.

As we continue to learn from this growth process and look ahead to the end of 2024, we anticipate additional cohorts of the Refugee Culinary Training program and supporting those graduates with securing meaningful employment in local restaurants or their own ventures. Flavors from Afar restaurant is set to open to the public in Q4, and we can not wait to show our beloved Angelenos what we’ve been up to in person. That includes indoor and outdoor dining, access to new cuisines, private event space, and unique community gatherings where we celebrate refugees incorporating music with our food.

“Flavors from Afar has been awarded two Michelin Bib Gourmands and was rated Los Angeles Times' 101 best restaurants in LA for two years in a row. I’m very grateful to LA2050 for their continued partnership in helping us develop roots in Los Angeles. It definitely takes a tribe,” said Meymuna Hussein-Cattan, Founder of Flavors from Afar.

A big thank you to the LA2050 team for its continued support as we bring more and more of our vision for Flavors from Afar in LA to fruition.

AuthorFlavors From Afar