Dominique Crenn Spearheads Ukraine Fundraiser


As Russia’s war on Ukraine enters its third month, the hospitality industry continues to step up with creative relief efforts to help refugees and those under attack in the country.

Atelier Crenn chef and co-owner Dominique Crenn, who has previously raised money for breast cancer research, is partnering with World Chef—producer of food TV shows and cook-along meal kits—to lead the new Chefs for Unity “challenge” to bake and break bread together.

All proceeds support José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen, which has now served more than 16 million meals and delivered more than 8 million pounds of food in Ukraine and neighboring countries. Since its founding in 2010, WCK has provided meals to people in need across the globe, including in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, WCK needs the world’s support more than ever, as its Ukraine efforts stretch to more than 1,000 distribution points and 200 partners and face increasing danger; a partner restaurant in Kharkiv was destroyed in a missile attack.

After kicking off with a social media “unity pledge,” the Chefs for Unity initiative will culminate in a May 11 global livestream fundraiser featuring world-renowned chefs and celebrity supporters.

“I created Chefs for Unity to bring people together. On May 11, people all over the world will come together to break bread at the exact same time,” San Francisco–based Crenn told Wine Spectator. “We will use this powerful moment to celebrate our similarities and to understand that, no matter where we are in the world, we are all human. It is an honor to raise funds for Ukrainian relief and support my friend chef José Andrés at World Central Kitchen.”

Along with Crenn, other participating celebrity chefs include Eric Ripert of Grand Award–winning Le Bernardin, Daniela Soto-Innes, Curtis Stone, Massimo Bottura, Tom Colicchio of Craft in New York and Los Angeles and Craftsteak Las Vegas, René Redzepi of Noma in Copenhagen, Grant Achatz of Alinea in Chicago and Nancy Silverton of L.A.’s Osteria Mozza—as well as José Andrés himself.

“Chef Crenn’s vision to create a global moment of unity—a profound moment where people across the globe literally break bread together—is so compelling and beautiful. We’re living in tumultuous times, and we firmly believe in the power of food to unify people and raise funding for the extraordinary work chef José Andrés is doing at World Central Kitchen,” World Chef CEO and co-founder Mike Duffy told Wine Spectator. “We’re humbled and grateful for the opportunity to answer this call and throw the full weight of our World Chef team behind it.”

Anyone can participate in the breaking bread challenge by purchasing a Unity Bread kit, which includes ingredients and instructions for baking Crenn’s pain de mie. The kits are $100 and include a 2022 membership to World Chef’s services. Through sales of the kits, individual donations and corporate matching donations, Chefs for Unity expects to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars, and hopefully more, to support WCK’s ongoing efforts in Ukraine.

“I hope Chefs for Unity will become an annual event to support causes across the globe because together we can do so much,” Crenn said.

You can purchase a Unity Bread pain de mie kit or donate to the Chefs for Unity WCK relief fund at—K.M.

 Bowl of Maine lobster bisque topped with lobster claw meat and accompanied by a pitcher and a glass of wine

Eddie V’s menu includes plenty of indulgent dishes, such as Maine lobster bisque, to pair with selections on the 300-wine list. (Courtesy of Eddie V’s)

Eddie V’s Opens Its First New Jersey Location

Eddie V’s Prime Seafood is coming to New Jersey for the first time, with a new location opening on May 19 in Paramus. The restaurant joins 27 Wine Spectator Restaurant Award–winning sibling locations throughout the United States. (Owner Darden Restaurants is also the group behind the Capital Grille.)

“We are excited about the fine-dining scene and the ability to offer our guests a glamorous night out,” managing partner Drew Klugger told Wine Spectator.

Mixing influences from American and Asian cuisines, the menu will feature many of the seasonal seafood and steak-house classics well known to Eddie V’s fans. Executive chef Stephen Koch will offer dishes like parmesan sole, fried rice with crab and Hong Kong–style Chilean sea bass, as well as a range of steaks prepared by an in-house butcher. A number of gluten-free options are available too, as are cuts, dishes and ingredients sold for cooking at home, some featured in “Black Tie Marketplace” gift boxes.

Klugger and director of beverage strategy Gabriel Valle will oversee the list of more than 300 labels, 42 of which are available by the glass. Similar to other Eddie V’s locations, the list spotlights regions throughout California; there is also a substantial selection of Champagne. “Wine is an integral part of the Eddie V’s experience,” said Valle. All the bottles are housed in the restaurant’s glass walk-through wine tower, including picks from Kistler, DuMol, Mayacamas, Shafer, Gaja and Billecart-Salmon. Guests can look for a significant range of creative cocktails as well.

Set to have a lively atmosphere, the Paramus restaurant is located in a 9,630-square-foot space at the Westfield Garden State Plaza and features a patio, private dining rooms and a bar area, V Lounge, which will host live music.

Those located farther south in New Jersey won’t have to travel far to enjoy the Eddie V’s experience soon, as another restaurant is expected to open in Cherry Hill in spring 2023.—C.D.

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