Food Means Home

The Food Means Home project explored food and culture with young people from around the world who now live in Leeds

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For those newly arrived in the UK, adjusting to unfamiliar surroundings and making new connections can feel daunting. Louise Sidibe, Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children Lead for Leeds recognised this, having spent decades working with young people in Leeds. She saw firsthand how the comfort of cooking, eating and sharing food was a reminder of home and could help with this period of change.

With an idea to help comfort others arriving in the UK, a group of talented individuals used their skills and knowledge to recreate some of their favourite dishes. With our support these recipes have been collated into a recipe book called Cooked with Love: World recipes without borders and gifted to foster families. We hope it can show how we can all continue to learn from each other regardless of background, and that our differences can be embraced and celebrated.

’Sharing in this way has opened a window into our young people’s lives before they arrived in the UK. We have all learned so much; from recipes to heartwarming stories from back home and life lessons for us all.’
- Louise Sidibe

This is one of many projects we’ve co-developed with local people and partners in Leeds. It’s part of our ongoing effort to open up our collections through community programmes, events and activities in the city following the announcement of funding to establish a major new public space in Leeds.

Download the recipe book

Through the co-creation of these recipe collections, this Leeds-based project looked to create and enhance connections between young people in Leeds and their social workers and other supporting adults, and we’re grateful to see this work has been recognised with a nomination for a Child Friendly Leeds Award. 

World recipes without borders


Mina, Dilman, Hardi, Ramin, Bryar, Rozhan and Zhiako introduce some of their favourite Iranian dishes, from Ghormeh Sabzi to Zrishk to Kufta.


Abdul-Muneim, Adam, Ali, Ismiel, Mahmood and Mansoor prepare some of their most treasured Sudanese dishes, from Salad Aswat to Kifta to Assida.


Moussa, Aboubakar, Issa, Youssouf and Khalil reflect on what dishes remind them of home, cooking Salat, Dogo and Daraba Gombo.

Ethiopia and Eritrea

Elsa, Millen, Monalisa, Ruta, Winta and Winta offer an insight into their essential Eritrean and Ethiopian dishes, from Dinch Wot to Tikel Gomen to Zigini.


Ihsan, Ikram, Shakoor and Sudi deliver a medley of Aghan dishes that take them back to their childhoods, from Bamiyah to Qabil Pilau to Chicken Korma.

Project partners

The key partners for the programme are:

  • The British Library
  • Leeds Children and Families Social Work service
  • Child Friendly Leeds

This project was delivered by Lead Creative Facilitator Thahmina Begum, Photographer and Creative Facilitator Nicola Fox and Social Workers Louise Sidibe and Olivia Rochelle. Special thanks to Herd Farm and Leeds City Museum.