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

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

Compensation and Benefits Manager - Brentwood - Circa £60,000

£60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Compensation and Benefits Manager - Compensat...

Finance Manager - Recruitment Business (Media & Entertainment)

£28000 - £35000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

Finance Manager - Recruitment Business (Media & Entertainment)

£28000 - £32000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker