Dinner in Solvang restaurant to raise funds to feed war refugees
“SLAVA UKRAINI!,” a last-minute fundraising dinner to support Jose Andres’s World Central Kitchen in Ukraine, will be held Wednesday at Coast Range restaurant, 1635 Mission Drive in Solvang.
A cocktail reception and silent auction takes place from 5:30 to 7 p.m. followed by dinner at 7.
There is a $250 minimum donation per person, and 100% will go to feeding Ukrainian refugees. Guests are being asked to donate as much as they can.
Preparing the five-course dinner are local chefs — Jeff Olsson from Industrial Eats in Buellton; Clark Staub, Full of Life Flatbread in Los Alamos; Budi Kazali, Ramen Kotori in Solvang; Luca Crestanelli, S.Y. Kitchen in Santa Ynez and Nella Kitchen & Bar in Los Olivos; and Lincoln Carson, Anthony Carron and Steven Fretz, Coast Range.
Participating winemakers are Drake Whitcraft, Whitcraft Wines; Peter, Tom and Jessica Stolpman, Stolpman Vineyards; Kris Curran and Bruno D’Alfonso, D’Alfonso-Curran Wines; Rajat Parr, Domaine de la Cote; and Michel Roth, LoFi Wines.
Coast Range welcomes donations of goods and services for the silent auction portion of the event; 100% of the silent auction proceeds will go to the World Central Kitchen as well.
“It’s easy to see what’s going on in the world and feel helpless. José Andrés and the World Central Kitchen team are doing the work to create actual change, and we’re thrilled to contribute however we can,” said Hillary Calhoun, partner, Coast Range restaurant.
WCK began serving hot meals within hours of the initial invasion of Ukraine and quickly set up at the eight border crossings with Poland. Since then, WCK’s Chefs for Ukraine response has grown rapidly and is distributing nourishing food and fresh meals across the region, including Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, Moldova, Romania, Slovakia and Spain.
In addition to its field kitchen, WCK is working with local restaurants, caterers and food trucks to provide fresh and comforting meals at border crossings, shelters and other locations along their journey. WCK is also distributing bulk food products, including produce and dry goods to restaurant partners in Ukraine to supplement the strained food supply chain.
WCK began in 2010 after a huge earthquake devastated Haiti, according to Chef Andres’ website.
“Cooking alongside displaced Haitians in a camp, I found myself getting schooled in how to cook black beans the way they wanted: mashed and sieved into a creamy sauce,” said Chef Andres. “You see, food relief is not just a meal that keeps hunger away. It’s a plate of hope. It tells you in your darkest hour that someone, somewhere, cares about you.
“This is the real meaning of comfort food. It’s why we make the effort to cook in a crisis. We don’t just deliver raw ingredients and expect people to fend for themselves. And we don’t just dump free food into a disaster zone: We source and hire locally wherever we can, to jump-start economic recovery through food.”
Since those early days, Chef Andres has taken World Central Kitchen all over the world.
“We fed an island after Hurricane Maria destroyed Puerto Rico,” he said. “We fed tens of millions struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic. We put boots on the ground when a blast devastated Beirut, bushfires ripped through Australia, and a volcano transformed a Spanish island.
“We were under a bridge with thousands of asylum seekers in Texas, in a demolished Kentucky town after brutal tornadoes, on the Louisiana coast when yet another enormous hurricane made landfall.
“At times like these, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the scale of the challenges we face and the speed of each new crisis,” Chef Andres said. “But many complex problems have simple solutions. Sometimes you just need to decide to do something.
“Sometimes you just have to show up with a sandwich or some warm rice and beans.”