PORTLAND, Ore. — The owner of a restaurant in Portland says her business has seen backlash because of the conflict in Ukraine. While Kachka serves Russian-inspired cuisine, the owner is fundraising to help the people of Ukraine.
Bonnie Morales is the chef and co-owner of Kachka. She says they've received hurtful comments on social media — and some guests have cancelled reservations in response to the war.
In spite of all that, the restaurant is showing support for Ukraine. Morales' family is from Belarus in eastern Europe. When Russia invaded Ukraine she wanted to help.
"What we could do immediately is put a cocktail [on the menu] which the proceeds would go to the Red Cross,” explained Morales.
So far they’ve raised over $4,500 for the Red Cross in Ukraine, with the Ukrainian spirit made with a blend of peppers and honey. Morales wanted to do more to raise funds and awareness of the growing humanitarian crisis.
"I’m not a writer so I can’t write an op-ed or anything, but I can cook," Morales said. With that in mind, she created Ukrainian-style dumplings.
"Ukrainian dumplings are a called vareniki and they are typically made with some kind of fruit or vegetable filling," said Morales.
Kachka’s version is filled with the restaurant’s home-made sauerkraut and potato puree – wrapped in a unique display of solidarity.
"Dyed with turmeric to make it a little yellow and the other side dyed with butterfly pea flower to make it a little blue," explained Morales. "So when they cook, one side is blue and the other side is yellow and resembles the Ukrainian flag," said Morales.
One dollar from each package will be donated to UNICEF’s Ukraine Appeal.
"It’s important for Portlanders and Oregonians to remember there are thousands of Ukrainians and Russians living here, so it’s very likely that someone that you interact with has family right now suffering," said Morales.
Olga Blackwood lives in Portland but was born in Ukraine. She still has family there.
"Every morning I wake up and I wonder are they alive," said Blackwood. "They’re living with air raid sirens constantly and so far they’re okay.”
In uncertain times it brings Blackwood a little joy to see her Portland community show up in support — whether it be with a rally or dumplings.
The dumplings are available at the restaurant's grocery store for $10.99. You can also find them online and at Portland-area New Seasons. Kachka hopes to add them to the restaurant menu next week