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Fusion Kitchen Aids Immigrant Women Job Hunt

BURNABY – A pair of students at Simon Fraser University has cooked up an idea that may help more immigrant women land jobs – and give profile to their cultural cuisine.

Fusion Kitchen’s goal is to develop the transferable skill sets, work experience and self-confidence of recent female immigrants through teaching ethnic cooking classes focused on dishes from their culture.

Chantelle Buffie and Sonam Swarup, both actively involved with Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) Simon Fraser, decided to start their own social venture and hosted a pilot project for Fusion Kitchen in December featuring a Fijian teacher.

Working on the culinary premise that “food is the best way to learn, cook and connect,” they are in the process of setting up their next class featuring Pakistani cuisine on Friday, May 4.

The two are working with Shahnaz Asfar, a woman who emigrated from Pakistan to Canada two years ago and despite more than 25 years of teaching experience in her native country, has yet to find employment.

“Since arrive, Shahnaz has done her best to adjust to the new environment and develop a social circle,” says Buffie, a Surrey resident. “At the same time, she has attempted to develop her skills in the Canadian education system.

“While she is gaining credentials through such courses as the Canadian Early Childhood Education assistant program, she still faces obstacles in pursuit of securing full-time employment in Canada.”

The evening is open to groups of people interested in learning more about Pakistani food and culture, including meet-up groups, corporate teams and clubs, as well as individuals. Space, however, is limited.

The class will be held at the Woodland Smokehouse & Commissary on Commercial Drive in Vancouver, 6 – 9 p.m.

For more information see www.thefusionkitchen.com.

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