Publish Date: May 12, 2022 Posted By: Rosanna Frost

RACA partners with Ukrainian culinary ambassador to address member chefs from across the UK

After an introduction from Academician Alan Coxon who is a close friend of renowned Ukrainian chef, Yurii Kovryzhenko, the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts (RACA) has reached out to its members, calling for their support in raising funds for, and awareness of, the continuing situation in Ukraine.

RACA’s national network of leading hospitality professionals are being encouraged to contribute to the ongoing fundraising initiative #CookforUkraine as well as adding traditional Ukrainian dishes to restaurant menus, using their own contacts and social media channels to raise awareness and offering employment opportunities refugees.

Yurii, an award-winning chef, TV and radio presenter and ambassador for Ukrainian cuisine around the world recently attended a RACA event at chef Paul Askew’s The Art School in Liverpool, taking to the stage to share his story and speak directly to members, warning of the implications that the war could have on the UK hospitality industry including global shortages in produce such as grains, flour, poultry and sunflower oil. 

Paul Askew, Chef Proprietor, The Art School, Liverpool said:
“At our recent plenary meeting At The Art School Restaurant, we were privileged to have Yuri join us and deliver one of the most passionate and emotional speeches I have ever seen. His courage in delivering these words was humbling and inspiring and I hope, as academicians, we can all do something to help our Ukrainian Culinary Hero in his ask to us.

“We raised a modest some on the day for his cause, but I hope this is just the beginning for us as we try to support him and his countrymen even further. We realise that this is difficult time for everyone, but nothing compares to the devastation that the Ukrainian people are facing. I feel any support large or small that we can offer is so valuable. Yurii, we are with you! We will support you and our hearts go out to you!”

Further RACA members have already been showing their support by hosting supper clubs, with renowned chefs Sarah Hartnett, Jason Atherton and Tom Kerridge cooking for the events.

James Robson, Chairman of Fallow in St James’ London and a friend of RACA has also been fundraising for Ukraine, paying forward £5,000 which will be collected by adding £2 onto each customers’ bill as a charitable donation. The restaurant will also be serving Solovey, a new, specially commissioned Ukrainian vodka.

Social enterprise London restaurant Brigade Bar + Kitchen also hosted a fundraising dinner earlier this month. Guests enjoyed a special menu that celebrated the best of Ukrainian cuisine which was co-created by founder and RACA fellow

Simon Boyle and Yurii and included delicacies such as Forshmak, Borsch, Ukrainian dumplings and Chicken Kiev.

The event raised over £6,000 which was split between ‘Family Food Boxes’, a food programme initiated by the Ukrainian embassy and ‘World Central Kitchen’, a global not-for-profit organisation, which send chefs to areas affected by crisis and disaster to help cook meals for those on the frontline.

Simon Boyle, also the founder of the Beyond Food Foundation, has created a new, unique recipe book which was given to dinner guests and is also being sold for a limited period.

Simon Boyle, founder of Brigade Bar + Kitchen and Beyond Food Foundation said:
“I spent some time working in Ukraine and the warmth and kindness of the Ukrainian people will always be etched into my memory. Having seen what has happened, I’m reflecting each day on what a terrible situation my former colleagues must be in right now.

“Many have stayed to defend their homes that they worked so hard for on the Minerva, or they have had to flee those homes simply because they have no choice. I am so upset to think that some may lose their lives. I recently realised that I might never see them again.

“The war in Ukraine is wrong on so many levels, and we must do whatever we can to help the affected people.”

Yurii Kovryzhenko, Ukrainian Chef ambassador, said:
“I am very pleased to have cooked with Simon at this wonderful event. Not only was I able to show off great Ukrainian food, but also help many of my friends and civilians trapped in Ukraine. This event was about providing as much support as is possible.”

Brian Turner, President of the RACA Trustees, said:
“Like many, we have of course been following what is happening in Ukraine but until we began working with Yurii, we were unsure of how we could help, and I know that many of our members felt the same.

“We are so proud to say that our members have already been working hard to raise awareness and vital funds, and we want to encourage as many as possible to do what they can to help, whether it is hosting or donating to #CookForUkraine events, using their own channels to raise awareness or providing refugees with work. As an Academy, we will be doing what we can to support Yurii and the rest of the Ukrainian people.”

RACA is Britain’s leading professional association of head chefs, pastry chefs, restaurant managers and quality suppliers and aims to secure the future of the hospitality industry by training the next generation of and raising the standard and awareness of food.

For more information on the #CookforUkraine initiative, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/cookforukraine or for more information about the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, visit: https://www.royalacademyofculinaryarts.org.uk/