Chicago chefs cooking in Poland for Ukrainians return home after facility bombed: 'God called us'

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Preparations for dinner service at some Chicago restaurants began without their executive chefs as they are just back from Poland, where they fed Ukrainians.

"It was the right thing to do and the right time, but I wish I could spend more time there," said Guiseppe Tentori, a chef and partner with GT Fish & Oyster and GT Prime & Boka Catering.

For a week, the three Chicago chefs volunteered their time and talent to make a lot of food at a World Central Kitchen distribution facility in Poland near the Ukrainian border.

"It was a calling. God called us. Somebody called us to go there and help." Piccolo Sogno Executive Chef and Co-Owner Tony Priolo. "We worked so hard and put out so much food and we were able to see where it went, see the children's faces and the moms' faces."

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Last month, Priolo was among those who organized a fundraiser with Chicago chefs at Navy Pier for Ukrainians. One Off Hospitality Group Executive Chef and Partner Paul Kahan, who participated and has Ukrainian family ties, wanted to do more.

"Although I do have family connections, I just felt like it's a really incredibly disturbing situation that's going on in the world and I wanted to and continue to want to help in any way I can," Kahan said.

Guiseppe Tentori, a chef partner with GT Fish & Oyster and GT Prime & Boka Catering, felt a connection to the Ukrainians having immigrated to the U.S. many years ago.

"We are living in a bubble a great bubble. I love it, been here for 30 years, but the Ukrainian people are just leaving with their bag hey need to start their life with," Tentori said. "Just that, is heartbreaking."

The three returned as news came of a facility set up by the World Central Kitchen was bombed in Kharkiv over the weekend.

"Imagine we live in a free country and just getting the crap bombed out of you and having to walk away with what's in your hands is something I don't think Americans really think about," Kahan said.

The three remain committed to helping Ukrainians and hope others will do the same.
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