It goes without saying that the world is in a deeply upsetting place right now.
As major Ukrainian cities remain under siege and refugee numbers hit an estimated one million, it’s understandable that people across the UK and Europe are trying to find ways to lend support, however they can, to the civilians wrapped up in this heart-breaking crisis.
There are those planning to add their voices to protests in Trafalgar Square this weekend, and those donating to humanitarian efforts online. And now there’s another initiative that – within days of launching – is already making its own significant contribution: Cook For Ukraine.
If it sounds familiar, that’s because it’s inspired by the Cook For Syria movement started by Clerkenwell Boy a few years ago. It started out as a fund-raising supperclub before quickly gaining pace, with cookbooks, charity bake sales and more, all lending support to Syrians displaced by the ongoing war. Through these small acts, over £1m has been raised for UNICEF’s humanitarian work on the ground, providing blankets, food, clean clothing, toiletries and other essentials.
When news of the invasion hit, the Ukrainian-born, London-based chef Olia Hercules and her friend, Kino Vino founder and food writer Alissa Timoshkina reached out to Clerkenwell Boy to launch something similar in aid of the current crisis. Already, the campaign has raised over £45k. So, how can you get involved?
- Donating online: an easy way to help, straight off the bat.
- Hosting your own supperclub: the JustGiving page is filled with free recipes from Ukrainian chefs and families. The idea is that you can help to raise funds whilst learning more about the country’s rich culinary culture.
- Dining out: meeting up with friends this week anyway? Dozens of restaurants have already signed up to add small donations to their bills. So far, they include (but are not limited to) Fallow, St John, Trattoria Brutto, Sessions Arts Club, Manteca, Fenn, Kricket, Blacklock, Ikoyi, Where The Pancakes Are, Kol, Vermuteria, Casa do Frango, Petersham Nurseries, Silo, Bar La Rampa, Da Terra, and Cocotte.
- There are also restaurants offering special dishes in aid of the initiative: you can now order vareniki (a Ukrainian dumpling dish) at Officina 00; bruschetta served with vodka at the Big Mamma restaurants (Gloria, Circolo Popolare & Ave Mario); and a fusion udon dish at Koya; with more to follow no doubt. Each resto will be donating the proceeds from these dishes to the campaign.
- Events: a growing number of special fund-raising events will be taking place in London over the next few weeks, including Romy Gill’s takeover at Carousel and an evening in conversation with Olia and Alissa (already sold out, but which’ll be live streaming on instagram @layla_w10).
We’ll update this page with more events and participating restaurants as we hear about them.
NOTE: You can find out more about the campaign, and donate, on the #CookForUkraine Just Giving page here.
Main image: Olia Hercules’ recipe for Ukrainian dumplings
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