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22 May 2022

Mazí Mas is a restaurant in London, which operates as a social enterprise that supports migrant women in the city. The restaurant offers training and employment opportunities for these women in need. The restaurant currently runs within a pop-up restaurant at the Ovalhouse arts centre in London.

Mazí Mas currently works with women from Brazil, China, Ethiopia, Iran, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Peru, The Philippines, Senegal, and Turkey. The social enterprise helps them to gain experience in the food industry, including assisting them to gain placements in restaurants, as well as offering them advice to help them set up their own restaurant or business.

The women working within the main pop-up restaurant consist of seven chefs, from a wide range of these countries, who all offer some unique recipes. The menu is constantly changing, as the women prepare dishes that they learnt to cook at home. This means that one day they could have mainly Turkish dishes, and the next they could be Jamaican classics, and so on.

The story of Mazí Mas begins with one woman, although it is not the woman who founded the restaurant. Maria Marouli grew up on the island of Evia in Greece, and later moved to the USA with her husband and two teenage children, after the military coup in 1967. They settled in Astoria, in Queens, New York, and Maria desperately wanted to find work. However, she wasn't qualified enough for most jobs, and possessed only rudimentary English. Due to a love of baking and cooking, Maria mainly wanted to open her own bakery, but it wasn't the done thing for women in that time.

She finally found a job as a nanny for a Greek, two-month-old baby girl. Twenty-five years later, that girl found herself in London, and with a passion for cooking and baking, just like her godmother Maria. This passion led her to volunteer in デブ専 kitchens over the city, where she met many other migrant women like her nanny and godmother had been. These women all also wanted to open their own restaurants, cafes and businesses, and this was the driving force behind Mazí Mas.

Mazí Mas was therefore founded to help other women follow their dreams of running their own restaurants, giving migrant women the opportunity to gain experience in the food industry and gain employment, which is the opportunity never given to Maria Marouli. Their main value is envisioning a world where women are equals, with their work valued and voices heard.

Most of the women who they work with in Mazí Mas are mothers, which they find to be a real obstacle for migrant women. Additionally, a lot of these migrant women are working against not being properly qualified for many jobs, or possessing qualifications that aren't recognised in the UK. They also claim there is much discrimination against migrant women who can't speak English as well.


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