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Treasure Valley Refugee Restaurant Week embraces universal language of food

Posted at 6:07 PM, Sep 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-28 20:26:25-04

Many refugees who now live in the City of Trees studied culinary skills in their home countries. This week, some are getting the chance to get back in the kitchen.

Treasure Valley Refugee Restaurant Week was created to embrace the cultural diversity in the Treasure Valley by speaking the universal language of food.

Aminata Kika is partnering with Juniper Executive Chef Aaron Wermerskirchen to serve up a smoked tilapia entrée native to her home country for their four-course meal.

“Originally I am from Congo DRC,” Kika said. “There I studied to be a chef.”

When asked how it felt to get back in the kitchen, Aminata smiled wide and replied, “I am so happy. I cannot even wait for dinner.”

While the two chefs work side-by-side to prepare the courses, Chef Aaron says he let Aminata take the reins.

“This is all Aminata! I'm just here to chop onions!” Chef Wermerskirchen said. “It's really unique. I think it's a really great experience for people to be able to have some food that is a little bit out of their comfort zone and hopefully it brings some people to try something they wouldn't otherwise try,” he said. “She's got some unique seasonings that actually I have to go get right now from the African food store!”

Wermerskirchen says he hopes others will embrace the cuisine not normally found on the menu.

“It’s just completely unique; it's not anything I’m capable of because I’m from Minnesota and we don't have Congo food around there,” he said.

And after a day of preparing 50 four-course meals, Aminata just hopes it’s well-received.

“Let's hope people will enjoy the food!” she said.