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Michael Strauss of 'Mike's BBQ' in Poland. Photo: Facebook- Mike's BBQ
Michael Strauss of 'Mike's BBQ' in Poland. Photo: Facebook- Mike's BBQ

Philly chef heads to Poland in effort to feed Ukrainian refugees with José Andrés

Michael Strauss joined up with chef-philanthropist José Andrés, who had been feeding refugees from the Poland border.

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Mike’s BBQ in South Philly is run by Philly chef Michael Strauss. At Mike’s, Strauss delivers cheesesteaks, smoked briskets, and other items you may find at your typical BBQ.

Strauss’s establishment had taken its hits during the pandemic, leading to new challenges, but now Mike will be embarking on an entirely different task.

Now, Strauss is leaving Philly for Poland, where he will meet up with chef-philanthropist José Andrés, and other chefs, to offer food to Ukrainian refugees on the border. 

In watching the events unfold in Ukraine, Strauss decided to head over to help, telling his wife repeatedly that he would, the chef told The Philadelphia Inquirer. 

Strauss went to help out with World Central Kitchen, an international hunger relief organization created by José Andrés. 

José Andrés is a Spanish-born American chef who founded World Central Kitchen in 2010 after Haiti’s earthquake the same year.

The organization — which opened its first Poland kitchen on Feb. 24, hours after the invasion began — is dedicated to sending meals to families across Ukraine, Poland, Romania, Moldova, and Hungary.

World Central Kitchen claims to have provided 1 million meals to these locales.  

Strauss met up with hundreds of chefs near Przemyśl, a Polish city, after spending five days at the Medyka border.

The organization's Medyka-location kitchen utilizes 12 paella pans and 12 large ovens. Local restaurants and caterers have been enlisted, too.

Volunteer chefs have been cooking early in the morning and later deliver food to refugees on the border 15 minutes away.

Strauss is set for a Philly return this Tuesday. Others from the city will be heading over to Poland after him in the same effort.

Chef Joncarl Lachman, Center City restaurateur John Carne, and entrepreneur Olga Sorzano will all also land in Poland to help the World Central Kitchen cause. 

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