Meet Farid and Dimitris

Dimitris and Nikos from Rakor restaurant ready to try new Afghan flavours with Farid. © UNHCR/Yorgos Kyvernitis

Farid Ahmad Qader

Farid has been cooking in Kunduz since he was a teenage boy, because his father did not let him finish school out of fear of being robbed on the way. He began cooking by his father’s and grandfather’s side at the family’s hotel and then at his own restaurant and at the police academy, where he served traditional Afghani dishes for a local and foreign clientele. He came to Greece in 2015 with his three children which he has raised on his own after his wife’s passing eight years ago. He has been nurturing his two boys and one girl (11, 8 and 12 years old respectively) with home-cooked meals which he says also represents an important symbol of family devotion, so that they don’t miss their mother as much and their grandmother who is in Germany, visiting them whenever she can. Their favourite dishes, which Farid loves to cook for them, are kabuli pulao, an ethereal mixture of rice and lamb, redolent of sweet and warming spices, a national dish of Afghanistan; dopiaza, a delicious meat dish prepared with a large amount of onions and spices served with naan bread or pita; and okra — not the most typical kid-friendly dish, but adored by his children! He has worked in different Afghani restaurants in Athens in not so favourable conditions and wants nothing more than to be able to earn his livelihood through cooking.

Dimitris Psaradakis

According to Dimitris Psaradakis participating in the Cooking #WithRefugees festival is a simple opportunity for Rakor restaurant to show the world that Farid also lives in this city, as so many other refugees. Dimitris knew from early in his life that he wanted to pursue cooking and realized rather early as well that high-end cuisines are not his style. He rather prefers the human-centered concept he found at Rakor restaurant when he joined the team in 2013. Here, the kitchen team focuses on a cooperative approach having as a main interest and purpose to search for and get to know first-hand best-quality raw materials and producers from all over Greece. The team behind Rakor restaurant has put a good deal of time and interest in the meetings with Farid giving him the space and opportunity to express his own ideas about the dishes he would like to cook and the materials he would like to use. What is certain, is that this warm and human approach will be deeply reflected in the Iranian dishes served during the festival, aiming directly at our hearts.