Cookbook Launch Event with Immigrant Food and the Center for International Private Enterprise

By Mahir Sheikh

On July 9, 2020, Consortium lead The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) and Immigrant Food hosted a virtual launch event for the LIFE Project cookbook The Cuisine of LIFE: Recipes and Stories of the New Food Entrepreneurs of Turkey.

Tea Ivanovic, Communications and Outreach Director at Immigrant Food, and Marie Principe, Program Officer at CIPE, provided opening remarks. Cookbook co-editor and Consortium partner Johanna Mendelson Forman and Washington Post food reporter Tim Carman led a discussion about the cultural significance of food and the role of gastrodiplomacy and food entrepreneurship in bringing refugees and host communities together. Award winning chef and co-founder of Immigrant Food Enrique Limardo also contributed his perspective on the impact of immigration on a nation’s cuisine and the importance of food in today's increasingly interconnected world.


  • The Cuisine of LIFE: Recipes and Stories of the New Food Entrepreneurs of Turkey reflects the passion that drives LIFE Entrepreneurs to build new ventures in the food industry

  • The cookbook shares stories of perseverance that shows how refugee and host community entrepreneurs have overcome numerous obstacles to create their businesses

  • The shared language of food can connect refugee and host communities and form a common ground to build relationships across cultures


Mr. Limardo emphasized the necessity of passion in this work. His passion for food defines his life and influenced his decision to open Immigrant Food, a business that has been a leader in the gastroadvocacy space on immigration by celebrating, educating and advocating on behalf of immigrants. He sees that same energy in the Cuisine of LIFE  recipe contributors: entrepreneurs from refugee and host communities who used their passion for food to create new opportunities. Given the circumstances that LIFE Entrepreneurs currently face, their passion for food fuels their willingness to maintain their businesses and create unique solutions to problems presented due to COVID-19. 

Mr. Carman  added that perseverance is evident in the stories and essays throughout the book . He observed that LIFE Entrepreneurs - and refugee entrepreneurs around the world - must overcome obstacles such as  language barriers, limited access to resources, and continuous pressure to succeed. The Cuisine of LIFE cookbook shares the stories of how, in the face of these challenges, LIFE entrepreneurs find success through hard work, perseverance and creativity.

Despite cultural differences and language barriers, refugee and host community entrepreneurs  can form bonds through the shared language of food. Ms. Mendelson Forman shared an example of two entrepreneurs who experienced this kind of intercultural exchange in a LIFE Project kitchen. Even though one spoke Arabic and the other Turkish, they were able to find a shared experience - and discover unique aspects of each other’s cultures - by exchanging their recipes for hummus and baba ganoush. 

As the speakers at this event emphasized, food can open new opportunities for people to connect with one another. The Cuisine of LIFE cookbook extends this effort beyond refugee and host communities in Turkey to home kitchens around the world.

The Cuisine of LIFE: Recipes and Stories of the New Food Entrepreneurs of Turkey is a unique collection of wisdom, stories, and culinary treasures from some of the leading minds in the food industry internationally and rising stars in Turkey. Learn more and order your copy here.