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Kent’s Project Feast brings people together through food

KENT, Wash. - Inside the Ubuntu Street Cafe in downtown Kent is a plethora of aromas, food, and creativity.

The word "ubuntu" is South African and means a bond of sharing that connects all of humanity. The people teaching, working and learning inside show that connection.

“Everyone in our program is a fantastic home cook, they know their food, their cuisine. They are eager to learn other cuisines as well,” said Veena Prasad, executive director of Project Feast.

Since 2013, Project Feast has helped several refugees and immigrants get into the food industry.

From the proper cooking rules, regulations and techniques, to classroom days where they learn resume writing, customer service and job readiness.

“They know flavor. I mean it's beautiful food that they bring in,” Prasad said. “Our program is 18 weeks long. The apprentices stay with us for 18 weeks. The program is accredited through Highline College.”

People from all over the world have gone through the program.

“Iraq, Syria, we've had people from Vietnam, Pakistan, the (Dominican Republic), Congo,” Prasad said.

In the latest class, you have two women from Mexico and two from Ethiopia.

Student Ofelia Anorva already has her own catering business but likes learning new dishes.

“I learned now about Indian food, I've never made this,” she said.

And it's not just the students benefiting.

Laurel Grimm, project coordinator for Project Feast, left a chef's job in Seattle to help others make their dreams come true.

“The conversations are a lot deeper, because we’re just sharing as we cook side-by-side,” said Grimm.

"The tagline for Kent, which is 'bringing the world home,' that just really speaks to our mission and that's what we're all about,” Prasad said.

If you are interested in checking out what they serve, you can go to their website. The menu changes constantly.

The cafe is open Wednesday through Friday from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.