Mar 11, 2022 - Things to Do

Chicago chefs unite to aid Ukraine

Food tent
World Central Kitchen offers food to refugees fleeing Ukraine in Medyka, Poland on March 6. Photo: Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images

More than 60 chefs will join forces on Navy Pier next Wednesday to raise money for Ukrainian relief in one big tasting event called Chicago Chefs for Ukraine.

Why it matters: Proceeds will support World Central Kitchen's work feeding Ukrainian refugees.

How it started: "After seeing the devastation of all the people fleeing and hiding, I couldn't help myself but to reach out to the chef community," Piccolo Sogno chef Tony Priolo tells Axios.

  • Priolo then contacted fellow chefs Sarah Stegner (Prairie Grass) and Jason Hammel (Lula Cafe). In a few days, the core group got dozens more on board.

Key sponsor: Morton Grove-based Lifeway Kefir. CEO Julie Smolyansky says sponsoring the event was an easy choice.

  • Smolyansky was born in Kyiv and much of her staff also hail from the former Soviet Union.

What she's saying: "We have folks who still have family or friends who are directly impacted," she tells Axios. "And they are being re-traumatized watching all of this devastation, even though we're an ocean away. So it's just part of our DNA to do this."

  • "As a refugee whose family came here from the Soviet Union in 1976, it's surreal to see this again, but it's also inspiring to see the outpouring of humanity."

If you go: Tickets start at $150 for the three-hour event. The final chef lineup is still being firmed up.

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