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LIRS Culture Kitchen

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Welcome to LIRS Culture Kitchen!

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service is thrilled to introduce our new virtual cooking series, LIRS Culture Kitchen! Join CEO Krish O’Mara Vignarajah as she meets with immigrant chefs, restaurant owners, and others in the culinary world to learn how to cook traditional dishes. Along the way, expect insightful conversations about food, culture, the state of immigration, and why we always seem to gather in the kitchen.

recent events

On May 6, 2021, LIRS CEO & President Krish O’Mara Vignarajah and her adorable daughter Alana welcomed Virginia Ali, co-founder of Ben’s Chili Bowl, and her daughter-in-law Vida. For this special Mother’s Day episode, Virginia teaches Krish and Alana how to make homemade Trinidadian curry while talking about Ben’s Chili Bowl’s long involvement in the Civil Rights Movement.


Our fourth episode of Culture Kitchen is a feature episode starring three Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) who are members of the Peace Corps Community for Refugees (PCC4Refugees). 

In this special episode, LIRS CEO & President, Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, holds a discussion with the three RPCVs – who are also former refugees themselves – on food, nutrition, and cultural. They discuss everything from food accessibility and nutrition in refugee camps, to adapting native traditional recipes in the U.S., to food as a Peace Corps volunteer.

In our third episode, Stacey Mei Yan Fong of 50 Pies / 50 States joined LIRS President & CEO Krish O’Mara Vignarajah for a new episode of LIRS Culture Kitchen. She shared how to make butternut squash hand pies and the story of how baking became “an ode to the country [she has] chosen to call home.”

While baking, Krish talks with Stacey about the research that went into each of her 50 pies, and how her project has taken her on a cross-continental trip around the United States.

In our second episode, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service President & CEO Krish O’Mara Vignarajah tries her hands at stuffed peppers with Chef Rod of R&R Taqueria. 

After the dish was done, he and Krish swapped stories about growing up as immigrants in Maryland and shared their thoughts on the realities of the “American dream.” Don’t miss it! 


For our first-ever episode, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service President & CEO Krish O’Mara Vignarajah joined forces with Andy Shallal, founder of Busboys and Poets

Andy showed us how to cook Mekhleme, a traditional Iraqi breakfast hash. After the dish came out of the oven, he joined Krish to talk about immigration, social justice, and how food brings us all together. 

Get the recipe for Mekhleme. 

2 thoughts on “LIRS Culture Kitchen”

    • Thanks for your interest! If you are interested in recipes, we encourage you to check out our Gather toolkits which have recipes, crafts, discussion questions and more!


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