“We all know that food is healing and even if it provides just a brief moment of escape, I’m happy to be able to contribute,” said Chrostowski, owner of EDWINS Restaurant in Cleveland speaking to FOX 8 Wednesday night.
He flew from JFK Airport to Tel Aviv Monday and hit the ground running; cooking beside elite Israeli chefs, some of whom have been personally impacted by the attacks.
“You know, they just lost two of their friends in the massacre, and their restaurants closed down so they’re trying to cope as best they can,” said Chrostowski.
And he too is putting his own safety on the line to help others, with at least one incident so far that was stopped by Israel’s defense system and forces.
“Three rockets shot down right over our hotel,” he said, “And it happened in a matter of seconds.”
But he says that he feels secure and is staying because the need is so great from the city of Tel Aviv to small villages to the South which were hit hardest during the attacks.
Although he’s worked at some of the world’s finest establishments from Manhattan to Paris and specializes in fine French cuisine, he said, ”It’s more like gorilla cooking where you go to a place and may not have all of the ingredients you need or want and we just cook.”
Each day they’re preparing anywhere from 200 to 1,200 meals, which are then delivered to those suffering.
“To know that it’s going to the surviving victims of this massacre means a lot. Like, that meal might have meant more than any other meal I’ve cooked in my entire life from the White House down to any other meal I’ve cooked in my whole life,” he said.
It’s a labor of love for Chrostowski who founded the non-profit EDWINS Leadership and Restaurant Institute, giving a number of former inmates training and a second chance.
He also recently fed victims in war-torn Ukraine.
“You know I’ve got four children, I don’t want to set an example in their life saying it’s okay to just to sit back and do nothing,” said Chrostowski, “I mean, I don’t care what side you’re on, this was terrorism and that’s wrong.”
He arrived in Israel Monday and will be returning to Cleveland Sunday.