Arts & culture

Connecting culture and community through food

Kobi Facto | August 24, 2021

Rana Al-Mekarry left Beirut to live in Canberra, Australia when she was just nine years old. Seeking a sea change, Rana and her young family moved to the Gold Coast some 10 years ago where she has become instrumental in the city’s Multicultural Families Organisation (MFO).


“There’s a spirit on the Gold Coast that I really haven’t felt anywhere else. There’s a community. People are happy. They’re always out walking and experiencing life. You could have a lot of money or you could have no money and you can still enjoy so many of the things that this beautiful city offers – from mountains to the beach,” said Rana.

MFO has been supporting the Gold Coast’s multicultural community for 23 years. The non-for-profit organisation has become a hub of multiculturalism, offering a range of support for newly arrived migrants and refugees, women’s services, youth programs, disability services and plays host to dozens of cultural events each year. The Gold Coast contemporary arts event BLEACH* regularly collaborate with MFO, and in 2021 the festival is set to feature a trilogy of cultural feasts under the stars at Burleigh Heads.

“We welcome an eclectic group of women from MFO, who are delighted to cook the fresh, hearty and flavourful foods from their home countries to share with the wider Gold Coast community. Originally from Eritrea, Egypt, Lebanon/Syria, and Bosnia, these women are proud home cooks and eager to invite locals to a seat at their table,” says Rana.

One of those proud home cooks is Mansura Fazlic, who made the bold move to Australia from Bosnia in 1991.

“I used to live 30 years there, and now I’m 30 years here. I love the Gold Coast like my own country now,” said Mansura.

Mansura explained that her love for cooking started in the kitchen with her mother as a young girl. Later in life Mansura and her husband owned a shop in Southport on the Gold Coast that would support locals and fundraising events with her speciality food.

“I am very happy when I can share my food with people and it makes them smile,” said Mansura.

“When you come to our home, either expectantly or unexpectantly, you cannot leave without food,” she laughs.

“We are very proud of our cooking. Hospitality and generosity are a very big part of our life and culture”.

Recent COVID-19 developments across South-East Queensland have forced the cancellation of BLEACH* for August 2021, with the festival set to return in 2022. Stay up to date with festival news by visiting the BLEACH* website. Discover more about Multicultural Families Organisation.


Keep up to date with all things Gold Coast and subscribe here.