Moving to the Star of Greenwich, the next chapter in our story

Plateful Cafe - customers

Southeast London’s favourite community café has had to leave its home in the Parkside Community Centre on Lewisham Road. Luckily though, our tireless volunteers have been able to team up with The Star of Greenwich, a community-owned pub with stacks of character and an international reputation. The Star was recently featured in an LA Times article about the survival of British pubs in a post-pandemic economy, so many of us are optimistic that the forced change of location could turn out to be a blessing in disguise. 

Plateful Cafe - customers  

Our mission continues to be about helping refugees get on their feet. By hiring chefs from all over the world the café provides a safe and welcoming space where migrants can develop skills that will help them find employment. More than that though, the Plateful will continue to give chefs the chance to celebrate and share the dishes that are important to them. For customers, this also means you will be exposed to a wider range of culinary delights than ever before. 

Nahed, a chef from Syria who has worked with Plateful for several years, spoke about how she feels about the move. Rather than being worried, Nahed expressed optimism about the possibilities that changing location might bring. “I’m not worried, I think maybe it’s a blessing actually. It can be very quiet here and not many people walk past. So, there’s a good chance there will be more business when we move which might mean there is more work for me too! At the moment I only work here one day every fortnight so I’m hoping that I might be able to get more hours in Greenwich.” The Star of Greenwich is located just off Trafalgar Road in East Greenwich, so it is hoped that a busier setting will encourage more people to try our fantastic food. 

Nahed went on to explain how Plateful had helped her personally and expressed hope that the change of location would allow others to benefit from a similar experience. “Working this job has helped me in many ways. My English is fine now but a few years ago, frankly, I didn’t know how to say my own name. I’ve also met so many new people and learnt how to use new equipment in the kitchen like the coffee machine. Now I have a good CV and a food hygiene certificate which meant I could get a job working at a nursery too.”  For the newer refugee chefs who are still developing their English and getting qualified, there is certainly hope that moving to The Star of Greenwich will provide opportunities for others to follow in Nahed’s footsteps. 

Unfortunately, there are still a couple of obstacles to overcome before we can establish ourselves as a permanent fixture at the Star. While regular events are planned for the rest of the year, we are waiting on funding which would allow The Star to install a new Kitchen on the 1st floor of the pub. This would mean Plateful’s talented chefs would be able to cook on-site rather than bringing in our food from outside. To help make this dream come true we encourage you to come down to the three-course Peruvian dinner which will take place at the Star of Greenwich on the 14th of June. 

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