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Friday 19th July 2019

Woodlea to host gifted refugee chefs in culinary masterclass

Over the next three months, Woodlea will host three cooking classes in collaboration with Free to Feed, which seeks to showcase the talents of people seeking asylum, refugees and new migrants like Pakistan-born Shahid Burney.


Shahid has always been infatuated with food but today, he uses his recipes to provide a sensory narration of his fervent endeavour to seek asylum in Australia. 


Shahid remembers standing at the front of a queue as a child, where he lined up with his seven siblings in the stifling early morning air of Pakistan, eagerly awaiting his mother’s crispy hot bread from the sizzling pan.


Born in Karachi, Pakistan, to a Pakistani mum and Indian dad, Shahid experienced systemic discrimination and actively protested this inequity. After being arrested and imprisoned, he sought asylum in Switzerland, where he was granted permanent residency.


Shahid worked as a chef and manager of restaurants and hotels, serving three Swiss presidents during his 17 years in Switzerland. 


Shahid returned to Pakistan to honour the passing of his mum. Unaware of a condition of his residency status when attempting to return to Switzerland, Shahid, his wife and his two year old son, were denied re-entry. 


Discovering that they had been stripped of their rights, they remained in Pakistan for another four years. Shahid became a refugee for the second time, travelling to Australia with his family to seek asylum in 2016. 


Today, Shahid is a regular teacher with Free to Feed, continually adding strings to his culinary bow. 



Shahid’s inimitable style of cooking fluidly intersects an assortment of cultures and cuisines, culminating in a fusion of eastern tradition and western ingredients. Aromatic braises, cheesy crispy pastries, fresh salads and lively fruit flavours are all part of the fun – come stir things up with Shahid!



Lemon Drink

Pakistani Puff Pastry

Chicken Curry

Spinach Curry with Indian Cottage Cheese

Saffron Rice

Spicy Cheese Tzatziki

Flat bread

Pakistani street salad

Mango cream

Alcohol available for purchase on the night


Where: 27 Woodlea Boulevard, Aintree


Date and Time: 27th July from 5pm to 8pm 

Cost: An early bird special is currently running for all tickets with a HUGE 50% DISCOUNT! Tickets for each class are limited so get in quick and register your interest via our event page.

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