Who We Are

Sanctuary Kitchen partners with refugee and immigrant chefs to build economic opportunity and intercultural understanding through food.

Since launching in April 2017, Sanctuary Kitchen has grown tremendously over the past five years. Our work includes: a Culinary Training Program that provides professional culinary development, employment and above-market wages to aspiring chefs who have recently arrived in the United States; a nationally recognized social enterprise food business that offers a diverse array of global cuisines available for purchase in a variety of places; and community-based culinary programming and events led by refugee and immigrant chefs.

Our programming supports refugees and immigrants of all backgrounds—from stay-at-home mothers who are talented home cooks, to former restaurant owners—Sanctuary Kitchen offers flexible schedules, childcare stipends, support with transportation, interpretation, and space for religious practice. We offer refugees/immigrants a range of entry points to the food system based on their individual interests and goals.

Sanctuary Kitchen seeks to address the most pressing issues often facing new immigrant and refugee families in this country: social isolation, financial instability, unemployment, and discrimination. 

Sanctuary Kitchen is a program of CitySeed. To learn more about Sanctuary Kitchen’s staff, please visit Our Team and Board.

What We Believe

At Sanctuary Kitchen, we believe that sharing a meal and personal stories is a strong and meaningful gesture of welcome and acceptance, an intimate space in which simple and genuine cultural exchanges can occur.

We believe in community and we hope that our programs will cultivate authentic connections between local residents and new arrivals. Food brings people to the table, enriches lives, and fosters mutual understanding across diverse cultures in the most delicious way possible.

Our Accomplishments

We have partnered with 43 chefs from 13 countries around the world including Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Nepal, Mauritius, Sudan, Eritrea, and Pakistan

100% of our 2022 and 2023 cohorts are women, and for the majority, Sanctuary Kitchen represents their first formal work in the United States.

With the support of our community, Sanctuary Kitchen has generated more than $600,000 in income for our chefs.

Sanctuary Kitchen History

Sanctuary Kitchen was launched in April 2017 with the support of the International Association of New Haven. The social enterprise arm of Sanctuary Kitchen was launched at the end of 2018, and professional development training was launched officially for catering chefs in 2019. Sanctuary Kitchen has grown tremendously over the past five years thanks to the consistent support of a dedicated network of hundreds of volunteers, event attendees and community members, donors and supporters, founding members, and community partners. Thank you for your long standing support of Sanctuary Kitchen’s mission!