Pop-ups at firstsite – food for thought

Refugee Action-Colchester ran a two-day Pop-up Café in December 2016 at Firstsite gallery, with a further one in February 2017.

The Pop-ups were planned to coincide with the start and the end of Gee Vaucher’s exhibition “Introspective” – the theme for the pop-ups was ‘Syrian food’ and we prepared dishes that were either traditional dishes or inspired by Syrian cuisine yet catering for vegetarian and vegan diets.

We were also invited to cater for Firstsite on two special occasions: Valentine’s and the Spring Dinner, which was to mark the opening of Zhang Enli’s new exhibition “Gesture and Form”. Many of our Syrian friends, now settled in Colchester, took part in these events. They were a great opportunity to present Syrian culture through their delicious cuisine, to give the local community an opportunity to meet their new neighbours, learn more about them and interact with them in a more substantial way. The pop-ups were all a great success and here is one of the comments we got.
“We also waited over an hour but agree that it felt like a sense of solidarity and support to be waiting. Once we tasted the food we would’ve happily waited double. It was absolutely amazing and I definitely echo the idea of this being a regular, if not permanent, fixture in Firstsite. I spent the whole weekend talking about how good the food was and how hard you all worked! Thank you.”

Maxine Long