The Welcome Dinner Project, Melbourne

Events, Food Recipes, Interviews, Melbourne / 26 August 2016

The Welcome Dinner Project celebrates ‘Melbourne Day’ with a shared meal for 100 new and established Australians.

If you’ve been to any of our Secret Foodies events, where we lay on themed dinners in some of Melbourne’s best dining venues and raise a glass with those we’re sharing food with, you’ll love The Welcome Dinner Project.
Highpoint in Melbourne’s west is hosting The Welcome Dinner Project – an awesome social initiative that brings people together through good old fashioned food – for 100 people ‘Melbourne Day’, 30 August. Half of the dinner guests are new to Australia while the other half are local residents.
The concept is simple: Host a ‘pot luck’ style dinner party for eight established local residents and eight newly arrived Australians where everyone brings a dish to share.  Tuck into a medley of food from across the globe as you get to know some cool new people.
Since launching in 2013, over 200 Welcome Dinners have been held in homes and community spaces across Australia, with more than 5000 people sharing the simple pleasures of good, tasty food.
Theo Naidoo – or T-Rex as he’s known to his friends – moved to Melbourne’s west from Dublin nine years ago and is a regular at the Welcome Dinners.
Theo, dinner guest at The Welcome Dinner Project
‘I was hooked from the first Welcome Dinner that I went to. It’s such a beautifully simple concept: people coming together to share stories, laughs and food, leaving with full bellies, full hearts and the joy of meaningful connection,’ he said.
‘I really feel like I have gotten a lot more out of The Welcome Dinner Project than I have put in – I’ve met some awesome people that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise, and I’ve eaten some pretty tasty food along the way!
Theo’s bringing Thai a dish of chicken mince curry served with his mum’s South African style roti and a zesty apple coleslaw to the Welcome Dinner Project at Highpoint. Oh hello! Where do we sign up!
The Welcome Dinner Project, Theo's dish
He has kindly shared his recipe with us, so you can make it yourself at home, or bring it to a Welcome Dinner you find yourself at sometime.
Thai chicken mince curry
A little bit of peanut oil
1 diced red onion
1 tablespoon of finely chopped lemongrass
1 finely chopped red chilli
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
2 finely chopped garlic cloves
500g chicken mince
2 tablespoons of fish sauce
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
1 cup of basil leaves
1/2 cup of peanuts
And and as many veggies as you like! I normally add in a couple of celery stalks, some carrots, some green beans and a capsicum, all roughly chopped.

  1. Heat the peanut oil in a large frying pan on a medium-high heat, and cook the onion, lemongrass, chilli, ginger and garlic until the delicious smell fills your kitchen (usually about a minute or two). I normally add the veggies in at this point, letting them cook for a few minutes before adding in the chicken.
  2. Once the chicken is cooked through (usually a bit more than 5 minutes), add in the curry paste and stir for a minute or two. Mix the fish sauce, soy sauce, lemon juice and sugar together in a cup and pour it in, stirring it for another minute or two.
  3. Add in the peanuts, stir in the basil, and serve with rice, roti or noodles.

2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon of salt
1 cup of water
Some cooking oil

  1. Pour the salt into the cup of water and give it a good mix.
  2. Place the flour in a bowl and slowly add in the salt water.
  3. Mix it together into a dough, and knead it until it becomes smooth (not too sticky/gooey).
  4. Flour or oil down your rolling surface.
  5. Separate the dough into palm-sized balls, and then using a rolling pin slowly flatten them out into discs the size of a side plate (about 15-20cm, or as big as you want them!), and flip them a couple of times like a pizza. Brush them with the oil
  6. Grease a pan with oil and cook until they’re golden brown (about 1 or 2 mins each side).

 Zesty Coleslaw
1/2 red cabbage chopped roughly
1 carrot, sliced thinly
A few spring onions, chopped finely
1 apple, cored and sliced
1 cucumber sliced thinly
1 or 2 stalks of celery, sliced thinly
The juice of a lemon or 2
1 or 2 tablespoons of mayo (depending on how indulgent you feel)
1 chilli finely diced (if you want a bit of heat)
A handful of chopped coriander

  1. Mix it all together in a big bowl and enjoy!

If you fancy cooking for a crew and being a guest at The Welcome Dinner Project, or even hosting your own event, you can get information over here.
‘Welcome to Melbourne’ Welcome Dinner
Tuesday 30 August 2016 6pm to 9pm
Level One Precinct, Highpoint Shopping Centre, Maribyrnong
Bring a dish to share!
To register for Highpoint’s ‘Welcome to Melbourne’ community Welcome Dinner, visit