Local Food Economy

A taste of Egypt: Nesrin’s story

By Nesrin


Today’s Bristol Good Food 2030 story is from Nesrin who will be supplying food at the Bristol Good Food 2030 One City Framework for Action launch on Monday. Nesrin tells us how the migrant and refugee support service Ashley Community Housing (ACH) has been supporting her to set up a food business.

I started my food business on 21 November with thanks to Shalini at Ashley Community Housing  – she was my Enterprise Facilitator. We took it step by step – I got my food hygiene certificate with the council, the rated one, and then I was eventually able to start trading and catering.

I worked with Houria, a wonderful catering business that supports migrant women cooks and then I got registered with All About The Cooks, which supports home cooks to sell food. My first event was in February 2022, an ACH event and I’ve now catered for events at Watershed, SS Great Britain and Peace Feast.

If you want to try my food it is available to buy on the All About The Cooks website. As I explain there, I started cooking at my family home when my mum stopped cooking because she got ill. She didn’t want to have food from anyone except my sister and me. Through All About The Cooks and the other events I have catered, I’ve given people in Bristol the chance to try Egyptian food, which I think is absolutely delicious, and not just because I’m Egyptian!

I didn’t intend to become a cook when I arrived in the UK. I came here in 2018 to join my husband in Bristol because he had been working here since 2015. At that time I was trying to get into working with Early Years children, which is what I had been doing in Egypt. After a while, I found that I needed to communicate more with people here and I wanted to expand peoples’ knowledge of street food in Egypt. I cooked many times for flatmates and neighbours and they loved it.

One dish I started with is kosheri, Egypt’s national dish and a popular example of street food from my home. It’s made from brown lentils, rice, pasta and topped with fried onions, tomatoes, vinegar and chickpeas. It’s my favourite. I moved onto ful medames (Egyptian beans), falafel, bazinjan (grilled aubergine) and Egyptian green salad.

ACH was and is still like an infinity voucher for my life! I started courses with them in 2019 and then I started English courses including English functional skills. After some time I did volunteering with them for three months and now I’m also working with them as a receptionist and housing administrator, as well as continuing to manage my food business with the business team.

I invite all people in Bristol to try Egyptian food, especially Egyptian street food – you will love it! I’m hoping one day to run my own restaurant when the market looks stable for it. I’ll be trading at St Nicholas Market today from 11am to 2.30pm and I’ll be serving up food at the Bristol Good Food 2030 Framework launch next Monday.

Find out more about ACH’s migrant business support on the ACH website.

Find out more about the Bristol Good Food 2030 One City Framework for Action Launch.

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