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Borscht Not Bombs: Sonoma Chefs Raise Money for Ukraine

Local chefs are raising money to help the Ukrainian people by selling borscht at their restaurants and hosting cooking classes.

#CookForUkraine is a plea being heard worldwide by chefs, restaurateurs and home chefs to pick up pans, don aprons and cook their hearts out in solidarity with Ukrainian citizens.

Inspired by the #CookforSyria fundraisers that raised more than $1 million for Syrian children several years ago, the mantle has been taken up again to benefit Unicef UK’s work to assist the estimated 5 million children of Ukraine.

Locally, Sonoma’s Valley Bar and Bottle and Chef Adrian Chang, who teaches Asian-American cooking classes in Occidental through his brand Morihouse, raised more than $2,700 over the weekend, with all proceeds going to Unicef UK’s work in the war-torn country.

“The first weekend went really well and we had a lot of people just give money,” said Lauren Feldman, co-founder of Valley Bar and Bottle.

Chef Emma Lipp and her team made vegan and beef borscht, a hearty Eastern European soup, selling containers for $25. In two days, they raised $900 and will continue to sell the borscht at the restaurant. Details on Instagram @valleybarandbottle.

Chang and his husband Chris Lewis hosted a virtual dumpling cooking class at their Occidental home that raised $1,800. Instagram @mori.house.

Online, the crowd-sourced Just Giving campaign, #cookforukraine, has raised more than 117,000 British pounds sterling, tapping into support from celebrity chefs including Yotam Ottolenghi, well-known international food bloggers, caterers and home chefs offering supper clubs and dinners for the cause. More information online at justgiving.com/fundraising/cookforukraine.

Know of another restaurant fundraiser? Let me know: heather.irwin@pressdemocrat.com.

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