Civilian chef Zhenya Mykhailenko is cooking up a storm for soldiers near the front line in Ukraine to improve their nutrition, while highlighting the need to keep troops well-fed during wartime.
Zhenya Mykhailenko, a civilian chef, has been cooking up a storm for soldiers near the front line in Ukraine. Mykhailenko’s charity work is an example of the role that civil society has played in sustaining Ukraine’s war effort. His food speakeasy with blackout curtains in the city of Zaporizhzhia is a tacit reproach of how the army looks after its soldiers. Fuelled by his desire to help the army, Mykhailenko’s main aim is to improve nutrition in the military. He spends two weeks a month doing his charity work cooking near the front line. As the size of the army increased over the past year, little attention was paid to the competency of people cooking the food. Mykhailenko’s war kitchen is run by fellow volunteers and sustained by monthly crowdfunding drives. He estimated that food costs alone for Ukraine’s roughly 850,000 troops and national guard are more than 30bn hryvnia ($814mn) a year, and that is “before administrative costs, salaries, transport and other logistics”.