World Central Kitchen, the non-profit founded by chef José Andrés which works to bring food to parts of the world facing crisis, has been working in Ukraine and in neighboring countries, serving hot food both to people fleeing the country and those within its borders. But on Saturday, one of its restaurants in Kharkiv was destroyed by a missile strike. In a video on Twitter, CEO Nate Mook said a number of staff from WCK’s partner restaurant, Yaposhka, were wounded in the strike.
An update I hoped I’d never have to make. I’m at a @WCKitchen restaurant in Kharkiv, where less than 24 hours ago I was meeting with their amazing team. Today, a missile stuck. 4 staff were wounded. This is the reality here—cooking is a heroic act of bravery. #ChefsForUkraine pic.twitter.com/AyU4fUnA61
— Nate Mook (@natemook) April 16, 2022
According to the New York Times, at least two people were killed and 18 were wounded in Saturday’s strike, and there were additional strikes on Sunday. “A tremendous amount of carnage left behind for no reason,” describes Mook in his video. “In this area, there are offices there are residences. People live here. People work here, people cook here, and it’s absolutely horrific brutality.” Later, he tweeted a photo of some of the injured staff at the hospital, who he said were in “good spirits & recovering.”
World Central Kitchen partners with local restaurants and chefs to provide feeding systems during various crises, and the organization has been on the ground in and near Ukraine since the first day of the war. The organization says it’s served 11 million meals in the country so far, and that in Kharkiv it has been “delivering tens of thousands of meals daily in the city and surrounding region to bomb shelters, hospitals, churches, seniors, and people trapped on the front lines.” On April 17, Mook said the restaurant team in Kharkiv was moving all non-damaged food products and equipment to another kitchen location.
Andrés also tweeted about the strike. “To everyone caring and sending good wishes to the team in Kharkiv, thank you, the injured are fine, and everyone is ready and willing to start cooking in another location,” he wrote. “All our friends are TRUE heroes! Many ways to fight, we do it with food!”