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What the Bay Area Hospitality Industry Is Doing to Help Ukraine

Here’s what some San Francisco restaurants, bars, and bakeries are doing to support and raise money for Ukraine

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20th Century Cafe Jenn Yee/Instagram

It’s been two weeks since news of war in Ukraine broke, and, while social media attention may begin dwindling, the number of refugees from the country continues to grow. Across the Bay Area, in addition to protests in the form of parting with Russian products, and against the nationwide backdrop of somewhat performative name-changing moves, several local initiatives in the food and drink industry have sprouted; their goal is to raise money for a number of central humanitarian initiatives.

Here’s what the Bay Area hospitality industry is doing to support Ukraine:

  • San Francisco restaurant Boulevard is launching a special menu item, Dungeness crab and lobster ravioli, which features yellow and butterfly pea-colored blue dough as a homage to the Ukrainian flag. Boulevard will donate 50 percent of proceeds from the dish sales to World Central Kitchen, the humanitarian culinary organization founded by superstar chef Jose Andres. Additionally, according to the restaurant, chef Nancy Oakes and husband Bruce Aidells will be matching $40 on each ravioli sale up to $20,000 through the Del Oakes Foundation.

  • Hidden Rhythm, an Oakland-based education company for the culinary industry, had joined the worldwide Cook For Ukraine initiative — easy to track through an Instagram hashtag. The Unicef UK-led project invites cooks to donate to a single fundraiser. To donate, Hidden Rhythm is hosting a series of Cook for Ukraine donation-based cooking classes on Zoom. You can volunteer to teach a class, or sign up for one, and learn how to make Chinese sponge cake or tomato bruschetta.
  • In San Francisco, Anna Voloshyna, a Ukraine-born chef and author of the upcoming cookbook Budmo! Recipes from a Ukrainian Kitchen, is leading a number of activities; her March 13 fundraiser dinner at the Archery is already sold out, but Voloshyna will teach a dumpling cooking class online on March 19 in collaboration with the cooking club Food La La. The proceeds from this by-donation class will be forwarded to Cook for Ukraine.
  • The newly opened Russian restaurant Birch & Rye has created a cocktail called Olena’s Flowers, named after the First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska. It’s infused with vodka, lindern honey, and sparkling wine. The restaurant will donate 100 percent of the proceeds from the cocktail’s sale to Doctors Without Borders.
  • In other spirit news, Menlo Park’s own vodka distillery Rocket Vodka, founded by Polish immigrant Dariusz Paczuski, announced that it will donate 100 percent of its March profits to World Central Kitchen, in order to help Ukrainian refugees arriving in Poland.
  • In Sonoma, the chic bar and restaurant Valley Bar and Bottle had also joined Cook For Ukraine; the team is currently offering quarts of beef or vegan takeaway borscht - 100 percent of the proceeds will go towards the initiative.
  • For the past week, Michelle Polzine, San Francisco’s honey cake queen and the owner of the now-closed 20th Century Cafe, has been hard at work fundraising for World Central Kitchen by baking and selling the cafe’s famous cakes to the highest bidders. With Zuni Cafe, Nightbird, and The Progress lending Polzine their kitchen space, the chef had raised $12,000 and is going to announce new cake sales soon on the cafe’s Instagram.
  • Bernal Heights restaurant 3rd Cousin will donate 20 percent of all profits in March to Nova Ukraine, a not-for-profit providing humanitarian aid to Ukraine.