About This Episode

On today’s very special episode of Add Passion and Stir, we speak with DC chef and restaurateur Erik Bruner-Yang, who was on the ground in Medyka, Poland with Jose Andres’ World Central Kitchen. World Central Kitchen is feeding hot, nourishing meals to tens of thousands of Ukrainian refugees coming across the border. When we spoke with Erik on the night of Monday, March 7th, continuous Russian attacks on a number of Ukrainian cities were sending an estimated 2 million people to neighboring countries in search of safety. World Central Kitchen activated restaurants in Ukraine and 4 surrounding countries, serving hundreds of thousands of meals to families. Chef Bruner-Yang provided his eyewitness account of serving over 100,000 refugees in the span of one week.

Resources and Mentions:


Erik Bruner-Yang

Kicked off his hospitality career as general manager of Sticky Rice, a sushi restaurant in Washington DC. Around this time, he developed a deeper appreciation for Taiwanese cuisine. In 2011, he opened Toki Underground, a ramen shop that won Eater DC’s “Best New Restaurant” the same year. Bruner-Yang has since opened several other DC establishments, including Maketto, a three-level Asian market with a retail store, coffee shop, and restaurant; and Paper Horse, a fast-casual ramen stand inside Whole Foods. His most recent projects include two venues inside the swanky Line Hotel: Brothers and Sisters, which interprets global classics from the era of grand hotels, and teensy Spoken English, a standing-room-only space modeled after Japanese tachinomiyas. All Bruner-Yang concepts are housed under the group Foreign National. He was nominated for James Beard’s “Rising Star Chef” in 2015 and was a semifinalist for “Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic” in 2016.

World Central Kitchen

World Central Kitchen provides smart solutions to hunger and poverty. José Andrés founded World Central Kitchen after the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti with the belief that food can be an agent of change. They have expanded globally and have helped affected communities in Brazil, Cambodia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Nicaragua, Zambia, and the United States. Today, World Central Kitchen uses the expertise of its Chef Network to empower people to be part of the solution, with a focus on health, education, jobs, and social enterprise.


Maketto is a communal marketplace located in Washington DC combining retail, restaurant and cafe experiences. The 60-seat restaurant is an interpretation of Cambodian and Taiwanese cooking. The retail section of Maketto is a precisely curated mix of international footwear, clothing, accessories, books, and magazines. The café serves local coffee roaster, Vigilante Coffee and provides a full coffee bar experience 7 days a week.