Harnessing The Goodness Of Food To Help Ukrainians May 4

Graphic that says, Humanitarian Relief Ukraine
portrait of Hari Pulapaka, who is organizing dinner to help Ukrainians
Hari Pulapaka, PhD

Stetson math professor and award-winning chef Hari Pulapaka believes food can harness the power of humanity for the common good.

“In times of adversity, my first instinct in seeking to help is to ask myself, ‘How can I cook a meal that will help others?’” said Pulapaka, PhD, an associate professor of math and former owner of the Cress Restaurant downtown. “It’s really that simple.”

Pulapaka, a four-time semifinalist for the James Beard Award, will be cooking and curating a menu to raise money Wednesday, May 4. The proceeds will be donated to Stetson’s fund to host Ukrainian students and a faculty member displaced by the war and to the NovaMova Language School in Kyiv.

The Stetson University Ukraine Fundraiser Dinner will be served in the Stetson Room in the CUB in collaboration with the culinary team at Stetson Dining. The event also is planned in partnership with Stetson’s Program in Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies (SPREES), Pulapaka’s Global Cooking School and other local partners.

Graphic that says, Humanitarian Relief Ukraine“The menu will most definitely be inspired by Ukrainian cuisine,” Pulapaka said. “Ultimately, the focus of the event is to provide a forum for fundraising and showcase the Stetson community as one that leads with action.”

Tickets are on sale now for the dinner on May 4 from 6-8 p.m. and cost $100. The dinner will include a four-course meal, followed by dessert and served family-style at tables with four to six people. The culinary team will follow COVID-19 protocols from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For questions, email Pulapaka at [email protected].

“During my 18 years as a professional chef, advocacy for good has been a cornerstone of my business model,” he said. “War of this magnitude and with these implications in the year 2022 presents a daunting proposition. We want to add to the positive energy in the world while helping those in need.”

-Cory Lancaster