Among the 400 Italians in Ukraine there is a chef: Stefano Antoniolli. A few weeks ago, we awarded the restaurant where he works, Fenix Italia, as emerging restaurant in our Top Italian Restaurants guide. Kyiv was a city boasting an ever-growing food and wine scene, with new openings and a lively curiosity. Then everything fell apart. In the midst of the war, Stefano – who has been living in Ukraine for over 20 years – decided to stay and help others. "We decided to stay. My wife is Ukrainian, her mother is not self-sufficient and it would have been very difficult to carry her anyway. And we didn't want to leave these people who have given us so much. We had to stay to make ourselves useful."
The situation in Kyiv
The restaurants in town remained open until February 23, then everything changed. "The situation is becoming increasingly dramatic. One of the major problems is getting humanitarian aid to the city. Significant contributions have already been made, including medicines, food, blankets and warm clothes. But there are delays and it’s getting harder to receive aid for those in need. Most of the hubs are in Poland, on the border with Ukraine. Here resources are running out, people have lost their jobs, they are not earning, their accounts are empty. Then I discussed it with other restaurateurs in Kyiv, and we decided to open an account. I’m appealing to the Italian restaurants, a little help now is precious for these people". Hour by hour, more and more dramatic news and requests for help are coming from Ukraine’s President. While diplomatic negotiations with Russia go on, Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko has imposed 35-hour curfew after increased shelling.
"People are sheltering in their houses or in subway stations, even banks work every other day. Men under 65 that are found on the streets are sent to the front. Many families don't even have the money to leave, others with little savings are heading west, sleeping in hostels or hunkering down in makeshift shelters. We want to do something concrete for the people of Kyiv, now, without going through other fundraising platforms, since we do not know when and how we would receive these donations. The on-site presence is crucial, if you want to act fast," Stefano continues.
Over the past few days, Stefano opened a bank account in his name for donations, coordinating with other Kyiv restaurateurs. "We will send the donations to those in need. We are already helping hospitals, schools, the elderly and refugees, as well as many of our sector." Stefano is a trustworthy person and we are glad to convey his message: Kyiv’s dining scene serving the community. "I realize that this is all about trust, but I can't sit back. This is the time to take risks, these people found themselves overnight without a job, without a home, without knowing when they will be able to return. I'm putting myself out there for this, and I thank you in advance for your contribution."
Bank account details for donations
- NAME ON ACCOUNT: Stefano Antoniolli
- IBAN NUMBER: UA393226690000026202001625898
- ACCOUNT NUMBER: 4008865941/01
- BANK: PJSC “State Savings Bank of Ukraine”
- SWIFT CODE: COSB UA UK KIE
- INTERMEDIARY BANK: Commerzbank AG, Frankfurt am Main
- SWIFT CODE: COBADEFF
- REASON: Humanitarian aid for Ukraine