The heart-warming story behind new shop offering a…

The heart-warming story behind new shop offering a taste of authentic Ukrainian food

An unexpected friendship borne out of the horror of the Ukraine war has sparked a new business.

Oksana Kateryniak and her daughter sought refuge under the Homes for Ukraine scheme in April 2022.

It marked the start of a strong bond not just between hosts John and Izzy Edwards, but also their daughters.

“It was just having seen everything that was happening there and we just wanted to get involved, help, and do our bit,” said Izzy.

“We have just been really fortunate that we got matched together. Oksana is family. Her daughter and our daughter are best friends.”

Now the trio has brought the UK’s first Multi Cook store to 43 Briggate in Shipley town centre. 

Shoppers can find frozen Ukrainian and Eastern European delights authentically made in the on-site kitchen.

You can watch expert chefs, who are Ukrainian and Polish, cook up dishes like varenyky – a type of dumpling-like pierogi; pelmeni, another type of dumpling; and deruny, like potato pancakes.

Zrazy – a meat roulade dish, fritter-style dishes, delicious cabbage rolls, and much more are on offer. Everything is ready to buy to be cooked at home by the customers. It is a franchise of the Ukrainian frozen food store Multi Cook. 

“Oksana had read about it as a franchise opportunity and she just told us all about it,” said Izzy.

Describing Multi Cook’s offering, she said: “It’s things we’ve never even thought of before that she’s made for us at home and then I went across to Ukraine with her to meet the franchisees. I’ve learnt a lot about food at that point and tried quite a lot of it.

“It’s things you’ve probably not thought about trying before. The dumplings are just really good. The best thing about it is it’s just quick and easy to cook at home, made in the shop, and the staff are Ukrainian ladies as well so it’s familiar to them.

“When we were looking for premises we wanted to make sure the kitchen could be a real feature. We really felt we needed to make sure that space was as good as it can be.”

The franchisees are now looking at how they can bring Multi Cook deliveries to places across the UK.

Multi Cook opened its doors for the first time at the weekend.

“It was amazing,” Izzy said.

“We had two hours where we could barely move, the shop was full. We had people outside waiting to come in. It was better than we could have even hoped for.”