Celebrating diversity through food


RECIPES AND MORE Launch attendees enjoying an array of foods made from the recipe book, and some of Manar Salo’s own creations.

As part of Mayo Social Inclusion Week 2022, South West Mayo Development Company (SWMDC) hosted the official launch of ‘Diverse Food Mayo’, a cookbook celebrating the diverse food culture of the international community now living in Mayo.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, SWMDC reached out to migrant communities to create short videos preparing a traditional recipe from their home country. The eleven videos were shared on SWMDC social media and YouTube channels and generated great interest. The variety of recipes was hugely impressive, providing people with home cooking inspiration, when eating out was no longer possible or very limited.
Catherine McCloskey, SWMDC Social Inclusion Manager opened the event and explained how the Diverse Food Mayo developed: “During the pandemic, we couldn’t work with people in our usual way. Our Welcoming and Including New Communities (WIN) staff member, Patricia Quinn, realised that many people had taken to cooking, and saw an opportunity in food to celebrate Mayo’s growing diversity.’
Patricia Quinn went on to say, that during a pandemic, food can bring people together. “This project allowed us to engage, connect, and support people living across Mayo on a virtual platform. We used digital tools and social media platforms to create the videos, which were then shared online to a large audience.’
The success of the project led to the compilation of the recipes into a physical cookbook, so that viewers would have access to the lists of ingredients, methods, and details of specialist shops where they could buy some of the more exotic ingredients in Mayo.
Deirdre Finnerty, Head of Community Engagement at Mayo County Council officially launched the Diverse Food Mayo cookbook, commenting.
“This cookbook is a fantastic example of what can be achieved when we work creatively and collaboratively. I would like to give special mention to the incredibly talented Madhvi Ramsing from Mauritius, who created a series of illustrations which complemented the recipes and helped bring this cookbook to life.”
Nuala Gilligan and her team hosted the event in Claremorris Family Resource Centre, where they displayed the original cookbook illustrations and treated attendees to a delicious spread of finger food thanks to one of the recipe contributors, and award-winning business owner Manar Salo of Aleppo Foods.
The Diverse Food Mayo videos can be found on South West Mayo Development Company’s YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/southwestmayo.