Visual identity by Karena Bravo.

Shakilla Naveed | Shepparton Culture Kitchen


.من بسیار چیزها از کلچر کیچن یاد گرفتم

Shakilla arrived in Australia in 2017 after a difficult journey to escape the dangers of war in Afghanistan, where some of her family remain today. She has found a peaceful, happy home in multicultural Shepparton where there is a large Afghan community and many opportunities for women that had never been available to her before.

Cooking has been a central part of Shakilla’s life since she was a young girl learning to make bread with her mother. After getting married in Pakistan, Shakilla then completed a cooking course with a professional chef. She is a skilled cook with an interest in a wide variety of cuisine. Her favourite meals to cook include dumplings, biryani, various kinds of kebabs, and sauces. She loves to cook traditional meals and appreciates how it keeps her connected to her family, culture, and childhood. For Shakilla, healthy eating means involving everyone in the process of preparing, cooking and serving the food. It means working together, sitting together and eating together. Food is what brings her community together, allowing people to gather, and share conversation and joy through eating.

“Since moving to Australia, the way we cook and eat has changed a lot. In Australia. I have tried very hard to involve my husband and my children in cooking meals but back in my country, the mother or wife only would cook. The children then would not realise how important it is. In Australia, I have many more opportunities to be involved in the community so I work very hard to do my best. I like to help and learn and improve. Not everyone has the confidence to promote their skills, even if they are good at cooking. So, I hope with this Shepparton Culture Kitchen we can give different women confidence that their cooking and skills are important and welcomed.”

Produced by MAVGreater Shepparton City Council and Point of Difference Studio, the Shepparton Culture Kitchen project is one of 5 initiatives supported through VicHealth’s Art of Good Health program. Drawing on Shepparton’s identity as Victoria’s ‘food bowl’ and its most culturally diverse regional town, Shepparton Culture Kitchen is a significant arts initiative centreing the voices of local women of colour, to build a future in which we are connected through empowering, healthy and sustainable food cultures.