Donations raised through Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery’s Ukrainian Summer Kitchen event, which took place in June, will support relief efforts provided by World Central Kitchen and RocMaidan.

The Ukrainian Summer Kitchen Benefit at Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery hosted over 300 guests for a philanthropic Ukrainian festival which explored the rich traditional cultures of Ukraine.

Arriving guests were welcomed by performances from Tysk Bank, a 7-member Ukrainian band from Toronto, Canada. The winery hosted many local Ukrainian businesses and organizations for donations, conversations, and inspirations.

RocMaidan, a 100% volunteer-based charitable organization from Rochester, NY, accepted financial and physical donations totaling over $7,500. The physical donations will be shipped over to Ukraine via shipping containers for immediate aid. Yuliya and Volodymyr Pavlyuk from RocMaidan plan to use the raised money to purchase a used ambulance in Europe to be brought to Ukraine.

20% of the ticket proceeds, totaling $2,400, will be donated to World Central Kitchen. Founded in 2010 by Chef José Andrés, World Central Kitchen (WCK) is first to the frontlines, providing meals in response to humanitarian, climate, and community crises while working to build resilient food systems with locally led solutions. WCK has served more than 60 million fresh meals to people impacted by natural disasters and other crises around the world.

“It was an honor to host so many passionate individuals who lent their expertise and time to share in traditional Ukrainian culture,” says Hospitality Manager and Event Organizer Holly Lynn Fusco.  “Partnering with World Central Kitchen and RocMaidan has allowed Dr Konstantin Frank Winery to contribute to organizations whose goal is to aid the minute-by-minute need of Ukrainian people in the areas of most devastation.”

The crisis overseas has been hitting close to home for the winery, as the winery’s founder, Dr. Konstantin Frank, was born in Odesa, Ukraine and spent most of his life there. Ukraine was home to the Frank family for generations prior to their immigration to America in 1952. During the first forty years of Konstantin’s life, he and his family lived through multiple invasions, revolutions, wars, and hardships. It was important to the current owners of the winery to honor their family’s heritage while also providing relief to those suffering the devastating invasion of Ukraine during this event.

The main event was the traditional summer kitchen menu created by Chefs Tyler La Croix and Steve Stopka from Lake Life Catering. Traditional foods included items such as fermented gagauz peppers, pickled cabbage and beets, roasted pork red Borsch, lazy dumplings, and more. Sourdough and Rye Bread was provided by Blue Heron Bakery in Penn Yan, NY, and Kabanos Sausage was donated by the East Village Meat Market in New York City.

Guests enjoyed interactive demonstrations of Pysanky, or Ukrainian Easter Egg painting, with Sofika Butenko and Mary Daniszewski. Another special activity of the day was the production of a large-scale collaborative mural with Ukrainian-Buffalo artist Dianna Derhek. The winery plans to use the collaborative mural on a future wine label.

“It was a joy to be able to host our first annual Ukrainian Summer Kitchen benefit at our winery,” stated 4th Generation Vintner Meaghan Frank. “Celebrating Ukrainian culture with interactive art, egg painting, traditional Ukrainian music and cuisine during this heartbreaking time of war was so inspiring and uplifting.”

This was the second consecutive year that the winery raised significant donations to the Ukrainian effort. In 2021, Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery raised $41,814 that was immediately donated to World Central Kitchen. And throughout the remainder of this year, the winery will be offering a Ukrainian-inspired wine flight in their casual outdoor tasting area, Eugenia’s Garden, for the season. The winery will donate 25% of all proceeds of this flight to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) for Ukrainian refugees. This Ukrainian relief flight is a collaboration with NYC’s Rooftop Reds which is concurrently being offered at their Brooklyn location. Eugenia’s Garden is named after Eugenia Frank, the wife of Konstantin Frank, who founded the winery with him in 1962.

“The many attendees learned about Ukrainian culture and enjoyed tasty Ukrainian foods. They were also generous with their support of the charities benefiting Ukraine,” stated 3rd Generation Owner Frederick Frank. “I am sure Konstantin was smiling down from the heavens with pride on the success of our Ukrainian Benefit Event.”