Social enterprise and café A Pot of Courage pivots during restrictions

Ballarat’s first intercultural café, A Pot of Courage, delivers much more than authentic cuisine from around the world.

Lilly Wright, Jennie Brennan, Rishna Gunness, Stephania Tello and Dung Nguyen Jones.

This remarkable social enterprise was inspired by a group of women from diverse cultural backgrounds who began sharing recipes, releasing a book It Takes Courage in 2018.

The group opened the doors to A Pot of Courage, a stand-alone entity, a year later.

Founder Shiree Pilkinton listened to the women’s struggles of leaving their homelands, learning a new language and striving for financial freedom through employment. She tasted their amazing food and guided them into business and into the hearts and appetites of the Ballarat community.

“Our menu dishes are handpicked and cooked from the heart,” Shiree says.

“We don’t have our families here in Australia. We create a supportive environment where we love nothing more than to share our cultures through our dishes.”

A Pot of Courage

A Pot of Courage employs women as cooks, baristas, deliverers and cleaners, supported by volunteer kitchen hands.

Kitchen coordinator, Lilly Wright, who arrived in Australia from Malaysia five years ago, runs her own Instagram business, Lilly Loves Cakes. As well as cooking and baking, she helps train the women to work in a commercial environment.

“The women come from refugee and migrant backgrounds and it can be challenging to find employment. A Pot of Courage provides them with a great opportunity to showcase their talents, get started and really fly,” she says.

Their menu transports customers to another pocket of the globe, from beef rendang to a Malaysian banquet, replicating the hawker market experience.

Located at Barkly Square, the café transitions between sit-down and an online order, pick-up and delivery service, depending on restrictions.

A Pot of Courage was supported by the Intercultural employment/ training programs delivered through the City of Ballarat.