News

Below Deck Med’s Chef Dave White Cooks in Ukraine for the Needy

29 July 2022By Laura Shaughnessy
Chef Dave White
Chef Dave White

Written by

Laura Shaughnessy

Laura Shaughnessy has been the managing editor at Dockwalk since February 2018. Having grown up among the cornfields, she is ecstatic to be among the boats in the yachting capital of the world. Armed with a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s in journalism, 15 years of experience with newspapers, magazines, and the online world, Laura has joined a great crew. When not writing about superyacht crew, she’s hanging out with her husband and their German Shepherd. Email Laura at laura@dockwalk.com.

In July, Head Chef Dave White of M/Y Snow 5 went to Ukraine to help cook and ship 3,000 meals to people affected by the war in Ukraine. He is part of World Central Kitchen’s #ChefsForUkraine initiative. Since March, they’ve produced 10 million meals.

In response to the war in Ukraine, which began on February 24, World Central Kitchen (WCK) started serving hot, nourishing meals within hours of the Russian invasion. They have since grown their response teams of cooks in Ukraine, Romania, Moldova, Hungary, Slovakia, Spain, and Germany. They continue to provide hundreds of thousands of meals and tens of thousands of food kits each day. They’re continuing to reach more cities under fire, towns recently liberated, and communities hosting refugees. Their growing team includes more than 4,500 people, including drivers, warehouse managers, logistics experts, and chefs.

Since March, World Central Kitchen has produced 10 million meals.

One such chef is Head Chef White, who you may have seen on the current season seven of Below Deck Mediterranean. Thanks to his 2-on-2 rotation, he was able to fly out to Ukraine at the last minute. There, the organization has a huge walk-in fridge, 10 stand-up combi ovens, and eight deep paella pans that can fit 1,500 portions of soup at his disposal. Chef White says that when ready, the food gets boxed up and sent to the distribution points at the train station, as well as at the border or Tesco car park and even at local Polish people’s homes where Ukrainians are seeking refuge.

“I work on a luxurious superyacht surrounded by beauty 24/7; I like giving back because it grounds me [and] it’s the right thing to do. There are people suffering out there — other human beings like me and you, people dying, people starving, families being separated, women and children struggling to find shelter. It’s disgusting, so I use my skills and my profession that saved me and gave me another chance to help save them from this horrific war,” Chef White says. In fact, while there, he witnessed six air-strike alarms over two nights and one day where everyone headed to the closest underground shelter. “Then another alarm is activated minutes or hours later when it’s safe to leave. Everyone just gets on with their day like nothing has happened. It’s wild,” he says.

“I wanted to get involved because I love to give back, I love to help others in need, it humbles me. I’m constantly in an environment where money isn’t an option and sometimes it’s just quite disgusting to be honest,” he says. “Being a part of this humanitarian work brings me back down to level ground where I would much rather be.”

Donate to World Central Kitchen at donate.wck.org/give/396273/#!/donation/checkout.

More from Dockwalk