Independent on Sunday's Happy List 2014 (NOT the Rich List): Nikandre Kopcke, social entrepreneur

 

London is renowned for the diversity of its cuisine but Mazí Mas, a pop-up restaurant that appears across the capital, nevertheless remains unique. Its food is cooked by women native to the various cuisines who developed their skills in family kitchens using recipes passed down from their parents - and who, with the help of the roaming eatery, have finally been able to take their skills to the paying customer.

The social enterprise was launched in 2012 by Nikandre Kopcke to combat the barriers facing women from migrant and refugee communities in finding employment. Currently it boasts chefs from Ethiopia, the Philippines, Senegal, Brazil and Peru.

Mazí Mas, which means 'with us' in Greek, gives them an independent income, a chance to develop their culinary skills in a professional setting, and a way to reduce the social isolation experienced by the socially excluded. It is hoped many will go on to open their own restaurants.

"It's amazing to be nominated," Mr Kopcke said. "The biggest achievement this year was not just running a restaurant, but that it was collectively run by five women from five different parts of the world. It's a true reflection of the cultural and culinary richness of London. This is not just about me, it's about all the women that we work with."

 

Ms Kopcke, a half-Greek, half-German chef, had previously been a gender specialist working with organisations such as FoodCycle, which takes surplus food and turns it into healthy meals for local communities. Mazí Mas was founded as her way to aid excluded women into the workplace through one of their most accessible skills: cooking.

On average 50 people are fed per sitting. Last year they took part in a brunch for Parliament Week, and cooked up a seven course blind-folded extravaganza for Valentine's Day in Hackney Downs. Next it will be at The Yard's Theatre bar-restaurant in Hackney between the 1st and 26th of July.

Mazí Mas is now to open a permanent restaurant in London and has plans to take the concept internationally. "We're launching in Sydney next month," Ms Kopcke said. "We want to go into more cities in the UK, and also into France in the futures so as to expand the work we are doing to help refugee women."

Read more - Independent on Sunday's Happy List 2014

The full list of people who make life better for others
Tom Dowling, community journalist
Carmel Allen and Josephine Drew, charity founders
Robert Williams, kindness giver
Dolly Saville, legendary barmaid
Martin Griffiths, surgeon/lecturer
Jean Bishop, buzzing fundraiser
Aneeta Prem, anti-slavery campaigner
Finally ... 10 household names who went the extra mile

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Production & Quality Control Assistant

£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity for a ...

Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor - Kettering - £32,000

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor with an established...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Generalist

£40 - 50k (DOE) + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a HR Manager / HR Genera...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources Officer

£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This role will cover all areas ...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss