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Ukraine plays central role at dinner of NATO Foreign Affairs and Defence Ministers

June 28, 2022

​The Foreign Affairs and Defence Ministers of the 30 partner countries of NATO, together with the European Union, South Korea, Finland and Sweden shared a dinner on the eve of the start of the NATO Summit in Madrid, at which Ukraine played a central role. Meeting at Santa Cruz Palace – the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation of Spain – the chef José Andrés served a menu prepared by three great Spanish chefs with an emphasis on Ukrainian cuisine.

In his speech to those attending, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, José Manuel Albares, recalled the history of Spain’s 40-year tenure as a member of NATO. “Spain has contributed loyally to the principles and values of the Washington Treaty, actively participating in the organisation’s missions on land, sea and air; in the east, the west, the north and the south”. Spain presently has more than 1,600 servicemen deployed on NATO missions in Latvia, Lithuania, Turkey, the Mediterranean and the Atlantic.

The minister made a special reference to the “sacrifice and efforts of the people of Ukraine, a victim of Russia’s illegal aggression”. This invasion is one of the main elements of the current global security context, “marked by the return of war to Europe, hybrid threats and fake news and instability on the Southern Flank”, he said.

José Manuel Albares also highlighted the unity of the Atlantic and European partners in response to Russia – “a cohesion and firmness in response to the challenges that not only affect us but all countries that share the values of international law”.

This unity was also underlined by the Minister for Defence, Margarita Robles, in her speech to those attending. “This Summit offers us an extraordinary opportunity to strengthen our Euro-Atlantic alliance. Our unity is our strength and I am particularly proud of that at this difficult time”.

Margarita Robles also mentioned Spain’s pride at hosting the start of the new NATO Strategic Concept – the Madrid Concept – “a document that is the result of a tremendous collective effort, and which will operate as a fundamental instrument that NATO needs to protect the integrity of the Allies and prepare itself for future challenges”.

Kiev Salad 

Chef José Andrés, founder of the NGO World Central Kitchen, was commissioned with serving the dinner, which was prepared with the collaboration of the chefs Pepa, from Quenco de Pepa; Diego Guerrero, from D’Stage; and Carlos Tejedor, one of José Andrés’s chefs. Together they prepared a menu with an emphasis on Ukrainian cuisine, such as the starter – the Kiev Salad.

The chef, who won the Princess of Asturias Award for Concord last year, recalled that since the start of the invasion of Ukraine, his NGO has been serving rations to refugees that arrived on the border with Poland in a first phase, and later on, inside Ukraine, where its lorries have been subject to Russian attacks on several occasions. In total, since 24 February, they have handed out 60 million meals.

José Andrés praised the people of Ukraine. “They are demonstrating an extraordinary bravery through the simple act of cooking and feeding their compatriots. They are genuine Food Fighters”. 

As from 9 p.m., photos and videos of this event can be downloaded in the following file: