Cook for Ukraine

Alissa Timoshkina and Olia Hercules

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Discover what we share through food. With Alissa Timoshkina, Olia Hercules, Caroline Eden and Yotam Ottolenghi.

This event takes place in the British Library Theatre and will be simultaneously live streamed on the British Library platform. Tickets may be booked either to attend in person (physical), or to watch on our platform (online) either live or within 48 hours on catch up.  Viewing links will be sent out shortly before the event.

The online version of this event will be live captioned.

Cook for Ukraine is an initiative of food writers and campaigners Alissa Timoshkina and Olia Hercules. Alissa is Russian and Olia was born in Ukraine: both are based in London. The campaign, inspired by Cook for Syria, celebrates people coming together over the simple act of sharing food and is a powerful call for peace.

Launched immediately after the invasion of Ukraine, it encourages everyone to celebrate Ukrainian and Eastern European culture by cooking traditional meals. At the same time the campaign will keep attention on Ukraine at its time of crisis and raise support for children and families impacted by the fighting.

Come meet Alissa and Olia and learn about the incredible food of the region, and how it crosses many borders and communities. From beetroot borscht to varenyky dumplings and Ukrainian challah bread, this will bring inspiration and nourishment to hearts and stomachs alike. They will be in conversation with travel and food writer Caroline Eden and the event will be introduced by Yotam Ottolenghi.

Proceeds will be donated to Unicef for their work in Ukraine.

Olia Hercules (pictured top right) was born in the south of Ukraine in 1984. She left her home town Kakhovka at the age of 12, when she moved to Cyprus. She moved to the UK for university, after which Olia settled in London, pursuing a journalistic career. Following the financial crisis of 2008, Olia decided to quit her job as a reporter to pursue her dream to cook for a living. She trained at the renowned Leiths School of Food and Wine and then worked as a chef de partie in restaurants, including Ottolenghi, and as a recipe developer before landing a book deal for Mamushka, a cookbook that celebrates her family recipes, from Ukraine and Moldova to Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan. Mamushka has won the prestigious Fortnum and Mason Award for best debut cookbook 2016 and to date has sold over 100,000 copies worldwide. She has followed it with Kaukasis: The Cookbook – A Journey Through the Wild East (2017) and Summer Kitchens: Inside Ukraine's Hidden Places of Cooking and Sanctuary (2020).

Alissa Timoshkina (pictured top left) is a Russian London-based food writer, chef, cookery teacher and events curator. Alissa came to the UK in 1999 from Russia to study and never looked back. Gaining a PhD in film history, she lectured and published on the subject of Russian and European cinemas, and also worked as curator and coordinator of film festivals in London. However, her passion for cooking and hosting dinner parties gradually turned into an obsession and Alissa left her job to launch a new project: a cinema-supper club called KinoVino, which offers film screenings and sit-down dinners with unique menus inspired by films. Since its launch in May 2015, KinoVino has established a reputation as one of London’s most original projects, being named one of the 10 best supper clubs in London by Time Out. Alissa has also launched a private events branch of KinoVino, organising product launches and private gatherings. Alissa was also shortlisted for the 2017 Young British Foodie Awards. She published her first cookbook Salt and Time in 2021 to great acclaim.

Caroline Eden (chair) is a writer and critic contributing to The Guardian, BBC and The Times Literary Supplement. Her latest book, Red Sands (Quadrille, 2020), is the follow-up to Black Sea, and the second instalment of the ‘colour trilogy.’ A reimagining of traditional travel writing, using food as the jumping-off point to explore Central Asia, the book navigates a course from the shores of the Caspian Sea to the sun-ripened orchards of the Fergana Valley. The Financial Times, Sunday Times and The New Yorker selected it as a ‘book of the year’ for 2020. It also won the André Simon Award for best food book 2020.

Yotam Ottolenghi is an Israeli-born British chef, restaurateur, and food writer. With Sami Tamimi, he is the co-owner of six delis and restaurants in London, as well as the author of several bestselling cookery books, including Ottolenghi, Plenty, Jerusalem and SIMPLE.

If you’re attending in person, please arrive no later than 15 minutes before the start time of this event. We are committed to the safety of our event bookers. Find out how we are welcoming you to the Library safely. 

Food Season supported by:

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Name: Cook for Ukraine
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546