A Group of Top DC Chefs Are Hosting a Big Fundraising Dinner for Ukraine

A Group of Top DC Chefs Are Hosting a Big Fundraising Dinner for Ukraine

Chefs Stopping AAPI Hate founders Kevin Tien (left) and Tim Ma during their takeout dinner series. Photograph by Vina Sananikone

Washington’s hospitality industry quickly stepped in to help after Russia violently invaded Ukraine, with bars and restaurants actively raising money for refugees and relief efforts. Now some of the biggest names in the chef community are coming together for a #ChefsForUkraine fundraising dinner on Monday, March 21 at the Wharf Moon Rabbit Restaurant. It is organized by Chiefs Stop Hate AAPI (CSAH).

All proceeds from ticket sales – dinner is $500 per person, plus an optional $200 wine pairing – will be donated to by Jose Andres World Central Cuisine relief efforts at the Ukrainian border; Currently, the chef and the non-profit organization are on the front line preparing meals for refugees and other afflicted people.

“Like everyone else, we were wondering what we could do to help,” says the head of Lucky Danger Tim Mawho co-founded CSAH with Moon Rabbit’s Kevin Tien. Although the organization was launched to raise awareness of anti-Asian hate crimes and racism last March, it has grown – both in size, nationwide and scope – to collect funds for causes outside of the AAPI community. Recently, he hosted a dinner for Afghan refugees.

“Kevin comes from a refugee family, and when that happens, whether it’s in Afghanistan or Ukraine, it really hits home,” Ma says. “These communities are like us.”

The range of chefs and restaurateurs is impressive and includes a number of Michelin-starred talents who are rarely seen at events outside of their own restaurants. A ten-course dinner will be prepared by Aaron Silverman (Rose’s Luxury and Little Pearl); Ryan Ratino (Bresca and Jont); Yuan Tang (Rooster & Owl); Brittany Anderson (Leni); Jon Sybert (Goat and Party time); chief executive Pepe Moncayo and pastry chef Gregory Baumgartner (Cranes); Mom and Tien; and Maketto Erik Bruner-Yang, who left yesterday to join World Central Kitchen’s efforts in Ukraine. New in the range is Danny Lledo of the Michelin-starred Spanish spot Xiquet. Rose Preventsowner of Maydan and Compass Rose, offers food and wine pairings.

Although the effort “snapped quickly,” according to Ma, they are still evolving the event and hope to attract corporate sponsors to match the donations. Reservations, limited to 120 guests, for the 6:30 p.m. event are expected to go live Friday; check CSAH instagram and website for information.

It’s just the start of a busy season for the organization, which raised more than $200,000 for AAPI organizations in a series of take-out dinners last year. With significant contributions, including a $10,000 donation from DC Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office, they’ve hired a new executive director, Pamela Yee, and are in the process of gaining nonprofit status. 501c3.

“Right now, we are reacting to crises that arise,” Ma says. “We are still trying to build our organization. I hope to get to the point where we will be proactive instead of reactive.

food editor

Anna Spiegel covers the restaurant and bar scene in her native DC. Before joining Washingtonian in 2010, she completed the MFA program at the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in New York and St. John, in the US Virgin Islands.