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Celebrating the diversity of the Welsh BAME community with a collection of world recipes

A mouth-watering new collection of recipes bringing together a menu of delicious dishes from around the globe is now available. Entitled ‘The Melting Pot’, the thirty recipes collated by Maggie Ogunbanwo with contributions by members of the minority ethnic community in Wales celebrate the country’s cultural diversity.

The collection of recipes draws together flavours, inspirations and traditions from Bali to Zimbabwe and the rich stories behind each dish. Recipes include Jamaican Saltfish Fritters; Syrian Stuffed Kibbeh; Nigerian Chicken Jollof Rice; Bangladeshi Macher Jhol and Columbian Vegan Ajiaco Soup.

As the Black Lives Matter campaign came to the forefront of everyone’s minds, Maggie Ogunbanwo approached the Welsh Government’s Food and Drink Division with the idea of creating a practical resource developed by the BAME community and made available to all, as Maggie Ogunbanwo explains,

“The Food and Drink Wales Industry Board got behind a proposal I put forward to them in early 2020 before COVID-19, to reflect in a proactive way the diversity that is reflective of the culture of Wales.

“The culmination of the proposal was meant to include a celebration event and an opportunity to chat through to a large gathering where we showcased our different food offerings. However, as a result of Covid-19 restrictions our celebration came in the form of this cook book with stories and in language that should be easy enough for us all to follow, replicate and enjoy.

“There is so much variation and texture that goes to make our foods different, but amazingly tasty. This is reflected in the people, so as you learn the language of food and begin the tantalising journey on your taste buds, so the journey of getting to know the people behind different foods can inform you. Our differences should not isolate, they should educate.

“As you try out the recipes in my new book, I hope you begin to understand a little bit more about the varying languages and flavours and all the variety that the BAME community brings to our communities all over Wales.”

The Melting Pot cookery book was launched last week by the Welsh Government’s Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths at a virtual book launch,

“It gives me great pleasure to be launching this hugely important book in reflecting the diverse Wales in which we live. It is so much more than just a cookbook, but a showcase of contemporary Wales through the eyes of those within the BAME community who are making a valuable contribution to the Welsh food and drink industry.

“Our culture in Wales is rich and varied and our nature is one of open arms and welcome – of providing a sense of belonging. This book reinforces those views and I encourage you all to try the recipes, read the stories and appreciate our diverse country.”

Maggie, whose roots are in Nigeria, lives in north Wales, and runs her own business called ‘Maggie’s An African Twist to your Everyday Dish’, making African food products, such as spices and sauces.

Margaret graduated from University of Lagos in Nigeria Bsc Hons Microbiology. A PgD in Hospitality Management followed, as well a PgCE in Food Speciality. She has held several management roles both within and outside the food industry. She then moved on to found and run her own business.

Last year, Maggie Ogunbanwo was appointed a member of the Food and Drink Wales Industry Board and is able to bring her experience in working with SMEs and diverse knowledge of African and world foods.

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