CHICAGO - For an idea that was thought up not even three weeks ago, the response and turnout for Wednesday night's Chicago Chefs Cook for Ukraine tasting event at Navy Pier was a stunning success.
"I just had an idea, and I reached out to some chefs saying, 'hey, we gotta do something here,'" said Tony Priolo of Piccolo Sogno.
Priolo said he started calling other Chicagoland chefs to gauge interest in late February and the response was unanimous.
"Anybody we asked, they said, 'what do you need? We got it,'" he said.
Sarah Stegner, co-owner of Prairie Grass Cafe helped organize the effort.
"This moment in history, that's the call to action," she said. "We all need to step up, and our way is by feeding people."
More than 70 chefs from all over Chicagoland answered the call with their culinary creations.
The event drew a sold-out crowd of 1600+ people, with all ticket sales going to the World Central Kitchen — an agency that will help feed the nearly 3 million refugees, forced from their homes in Ukraine.
"This personally affects us. Our parents are immigrants from Kyiv," said attendee Angela Golota.
"Being here, it's almost like an honor because everyone puts their heart and soul into this, and it's a very good thing to see, to come together for Ukraine," said Angela's brother, Serge.
Organizers say Chefs Cook for Ukraine will raise well into the six digits for the World Central Kitchen and are hoping the same concept will "go viral" in other cities.
Plans are reportedly in the works already to do the same thing in New York, LA, D.C. and Cincinnati.