Ukrainian MasterChef serves up borscht for charity in Prague

Olga Martynovska, who fled to Prague with her six-year-old daughter after the Russian invasion, brought some Ukrainian specialties to Prague's Náplavka.

Jason Pirodsky

Written by Jason Pirodsky Published on 20.03.2022 13:46:00 (updated on 20.03.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

Among the nearly 300,000 refugees who have fled Ukraine for the Czech Republic following the Russian invasion is celebrity chef Olga Martynovska, who came to Prague with her six-year-old daughter. Martynovska has been both a winner and juror on MasterChef Ukraine, a localized version of the popular competitive cooking TV show.

Martynovska brought her trade with her to the Czech capital. Yesterday, she was serving borscht and other Ukrainian delicacies at the popular farmers market at Prague's Náplavka embankment, and raising funds to help those in need back home.

The chef's stand at Náplavka featured a Ukrainian flag, and saw long queues throughout the day. Most visitors were not aware of Martynovska's culinary status, but were eager to sample some authentic Ukrainian dishes.

"People are most interested in borscht, pierogies with cherries or poppy seeds, and honey cake," Martynovska told journalists at the farmers market yesterday, adding that she appreciated the warm reception felt by Ukrainians coming to the Czech Republic.

"We are so happy about how they care for us here, and that we don’t feel like uninvited guests."

Martynovska's appearance at Náplavka was part of a charity project titled Nejsi sám (You Are Not Alone), with funds raised at the farmers market going to support the purchase of vital medicines in Europe and distribution to patients who need them in Ukraine.

Yesterday, the fundraising efforts resulted in 173,000 crowns being collected for the charity project.

If you missed out on Martynovska's Ukrainian specialties yesterday, don't worry: the chef will be back Náplavka next weekend, on Saturday, March 26, to continue raising funds for charity with borscht and other delicacies. Look out for the stand at Náplavka with the Ukrainian flag.

"High values, strong lives, faith in victory and the future, big hearts, sympathy for Ukraine, love for the people - that's what happened on Saturday at Náplavka Farmers' Market in Prague," Martynovska wrote on social media following the event.

The Náplavka farmers market is one of Prague's most popular, and operates every Saturday morning from 8:00 a.m. through about 2:00 p.m. For more details about Náplavka and other farmers markets throughout Prague, see our full breakdown for the 2022 season here.

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