Chicago chefs unite for disaster relief fundraiser for Puerto Rico

Chicago’s culinary community came together once again to this time aid the citizens of Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona.

It was a packed house inside the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture Wednesday night. Twenty-four chefs worked in collaboration to raise money for Puerto Rico. It follows the devastating aftermath of Fiona earlier this month. The hurricane has currently left 350,000 people without power.

At the Wednesday event, about 300 supporters were in attendance, including FOX 32’s Sylvia Perez who served as an emcee.

Foodies got to enjoy dishes from various cultures. At least four of the chefs are natives of the island. There was live music and dancing. It was the third fundraiser of its kind this year.


In March, Chicago chefs came together to raise money for Ukraine and most recently another event earlier this month to help refugees in Tigray (Ethiopia) — $750,000 was raised in total.

Attendees Wednesday were excited to donate anyway possible.

"We (Puerto Rican residents) are living without power, clean water, any homes. Nothing is working right now," said Monti Carlo, Senior Food Editor of Budget Bites.

"To see so my people, these beautiful chefs, it’s just amazing to me," said Julia Garcia.

Organizers are still tallying how much money was raised from Wednesday’s event. The event came together in just six days of planning, in an effort to get meals to folks in Puerto Rico.

Proceeds from the event will help fund the disaster relief projects by World Central Kitchen (WCK), which was founded by chef Jose Andres in 2010.

"Working together with Chicago Chefs Cook and World Central Kitchen, Chicagoans have the power to magnify our impact and save lives in Puerto Rico," said Billy Ocasio, president and CEO of the museum. "Food brings people together, and with Chicago Chefs Cook for Puerto Rico, some of the top chefs in Chicago are coming together to help feed our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters while they recover from the devastation of another hurricane."

Participating chefs included:

  • Art Smith: Reunion
  • Bill Kim: Urban Belly
  • Casey Doody: GT Prime, GT Fish & Oyster
  • Cely Rodriguez: The Jibarito Stop
  • Cristiano Bassani: Gene & Georgetti
  • Dan Raskin: Manny’s Deli
  • Devon Quinn: Eden
  • Donny Farrell: Quality Crab & Oyster
  • Erick Williams: Virtue, Daisy’s Po’ Boy and Tavern
  • Greg Wade: Publican Quality Bread
  • Heather Bublick & D’Andre Carter: Soul & Smoke
  • Jason Hammel: Lula Cafe
  • Ken Polk: Batter & Berries
  • Mark Mendez: Libertad
  • Martial Noguier: Bistronomic
  • Nikolaos Kapernaros & Louie Alexakis: Avli on The Park
  • Noah Sandoval: Pizza Friendly Pizza
  • Paul Virant: Vistro Prime
  • Rickie Perez: Logan Oyster Socials
  • Sam Rattanopas & Mina Sudsaard: NaKorn
  • Sarah Stegner & George Bumbaris: Prairie Grass Cafe
  • Stephanie Izard: Sugargoat
  • Tigist Reda: Demera
  • Tony Priolo: Piccolo Sogno

Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.