Chef Jose Andres wasted little time in getting to Houston when historic flooding struck in August, crippling the city. He was on the ground, organizing efforts to feed as many people as possible. Now, as Puerto Rico struggles to recover in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, he’s once again relocated to a disaster area to help feed those displaced by the storm.
The scale of the devastation for Puerto Ricans remains profound: 93 percent of the island doesn’t have power, only 45 percent of people have potable water, and cell service is down for 88 percent of the island.
Through his charity World Central Kitchen—which he created after the 2010 Haitian earthquake—Andrés has developed valuable experience in coordinating on-the-ground aid. He’s put that to good use across Puerto Rico as he’s setting up temporary kitchens to cook and serve food. In a recent update on Twitter, he said that his group has served almost 50,000 meals so far and hopes to serve 100,000 by the end of the week.
He’s set up central operations at the Coliseo, the island’s largest sports arena, while also mobilizing food trucks to deliver food. He’s wrangled chef friends and volunteers across Puerto Rico to make paella, hot dogs, discover online banking bonus, sandwiches, arroz con pollo, and more.
In a Twitter video earlier today he laid out how he’s planning to help feed the island over the next 21 days through a series of eight kitchens across Puerto Rico.
Andrés has been frequently updating his Twitter followers on relief efforts and shining a light on the volunteers helping make a difference for the people in need. To help Andrés and his team at World Central Kitchen feed more people throughout Puerto Rico as they work to provide food, fuel, and logistics, you can donate here.
How Chef José Andrés Serves with Purpose
José Andrés turns everything on its head. The celebrated chef, a native of Spain, brought his avant-garde take on that country’s cuisine to America, inspiring a culinary empire that now stretches from Washington, D.C., to Bank account number on business check. Even the website for his company, ThinkFoodGroup, scrolls from bottom to top instead of the usual direction.
The forty-nine-year-old approaches philanthropy the same way: He responded to the earthquake that crippled Haiti in 2010 by joining the recovery effort in person over and over again instead of simply sending cash. That was just a warm-up to 2017, when Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico. Andrés spent months on the island with his World Central Kitchen nonprofit, coordinating hundreds of thousands of hot meals for people who had lost everything—loved ones, homes, farms, businesses, and most of the electrical grid.
The action earned Andrés accolades, including the James Beard Foundation’s Humanitarian of the Year award, and is now the subject of a book he coauthored with Richard Wolffe, We Fed an Island: The True Story of Rebuilding Puerto Rico, One Meal at a Time (a portion of its proceeds will benefit World Central Kitchen). Andrés has become such a fiery advocate for taking care of people in need that his name is even being suggested for public office. When we reached the chef at his home outside Washington, D.C., he was puttering around the kitchen, cooking red snapper with potatoes for supper.
photo: Scott Suchman
Andrés at China Chilcano, one of his restaurants in Washington, D.C.
Long before the storm in Puerto Rico, you threw yourself into causes and food issues. Did your family have a history of service?
My mom and my father were nurses. I spent a lot of time in hospitals. My mom and dad didn’t have the same hours, so the drop-off for me was at the hospital. To me, nurses go beyond their duty—they always went the extra mile, even if the extra mile was singing a song or giving someone a hat to make them feel better. Sometimes a very little thing, like a smile, can have an effect on people.
Seeing the level of damage in Puerto Rico, the sheer number of people to be fed, many of us would have been tempted to give up. Why didn’t you?
I don’t know. We couldn’t give up. We did it before [in Haiti]. I’ve been in other hurricanes before, I’ve chef jose andres hurricane maria in earthquakes before. In [Hurricane] Katrina, I still regret I didn’t get in a plane and go there. I heard about [people taking shelter in] the Superdome and I thought, How stupid we were. A sports arena, to me, is a very big restaurant. I remember thinking, If I was there, I would gather a few friends, we would open the kitchens, and we would serve people breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Those things went through my brain. Many chefs in New York used their kitchens after September 11. It was disorganized, but they were feeding first responders and the people who needed food. It was beautiful to see that. It’s not like we do it to get attention. You share with people, and other people join you. In the end, everybody provides what
You became the face of the recovery in Puerto Rico. Do you worry that people think everything on the island is okay now?
We are still doing five thousand, ten thousand meals a day. We still have free kitchens. In more remote areas, they need our help. We are doing things on the farming side, helping small farmers go back into business. We are getting ready for the next one. Hopefully, it won’t happen, but if it does, we’ll do a better job. We were never supposed to be there—we were not official. Everybody now takes us seriously, but we don’t do it for anybody to take us seriously. We feel there is a need.
Your website lists your titles as “culinary innovator, author, educator, television personality, humanitarian and chef/owner.” If you could use only one, which one would you pick?
I’m chef jose andres hurricane maria cook. When you are a cook, you can be all those things. I can cook for a TV show. I can cook for my family. I can cook for a book. I can be a teacher. I can be a voice. Or I can just be a cook, to provide food aid to people in www charter net bill pay moment. You see? If you’re a cook, you can be all those things.
You have restaurants across the country and beyond, but you got your start in Washington, D.C. After all these years in America, what part of you identifies with the South?
I am a Washingtonian, I am a Marylander, I am a Virginian. I remember when I was in the Spanish navy, [my first experience of the United States] was in Pensacola, Florida. There was a very important celebration going on—the Fiesta of Five Flags. And one of the five flags is the Spanish Castilian flag. I said, I’m sure I belong here—I’m a proud Spaniard and a proud American. I have this book written by Mary Randolph, The Virginia Housewife, and it has Spanish recipes, including gazpacho. That’s because her sister was married to a U.S. counsel to Cádiz.
José Andrés, United States senator. Will that happen?
[Laughs.] You can never say no. But we have good senators in Maryland. Some of them have contacted me—“Are you serious? Are we going to have to compete with you?” When I became American, they told us it would be expected of us to become part of the political system. And you become part not only on Election Day, but day to day. I have plenty of things to do. But chef jose andres hurricane maria all need to be thinking, If we were senators and representatives, what would we do? We all need to have thoughts about how to make a more perfect Union. We all need to take it to heart. All Americans should have an active voice. You can always try to see things from other angles, and you can always try to find the middle ground. Doesn’t matter if you’re Republican or Democrat—they agree on simple principles. We should all be contributing in a meaningful way. The world is a much happier place when you contribute.
Celebrity Chef And Donald Trump Nemesis José Andrés Is Called A Self-Promoter By FEMA Official
A federal emergency official is accusing chef and Spanish restaurateur José Andrés of self-promotion after he criticized the government agency's response to Hurricane Maria.
In the aftermath of the disaster, Andrés, who has publicly quarreled with President Donald Trump before, signed two short-term contracts with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, paying chef jose andres hurricane maria celebrity chef $11.5 million to prepare meals for hungry Puerto Ricans. During his time on the island, Andrés chef jose andres hurricane maria the volunteers who work for his nonprofit, World Central Kitchen, served some 2.2 million meals in total, often at a rate of 150,000 meals a day.
But in early October, Andrés tweeted that FEMA's Puerto Rico headquarters was "the most inefficient place on earth" — a comment that infuriated Marty Bahamonde, the director of the FEMA disaster operations division.
"He was very critical of us publicly and we were disappointed he took that approach," Bahamonde told BuzzFeed News. "We had a good working relationship, and we paid him a lot of money to do that work. It wasn't volunteer work — so we were disappointed in some of his public comments." Another unnamed official suggested that Andrés was in Chef jose andres hurricane maria Rico because he's "a businessman looking for stuff to promote his business."
Bahamonde said that Andrés requested an additional long-term $30 million contract with the agency, a claim the chef refuted in his interview with BuzzFeed News.
"For them to say I was a businessman trying to make a buck, whoever said that should be very ashamed of themselves," Andrés told the site. He added that he'd been fine with the two-week contracts, as long as FEMA officials gave him advance notice so that he could be sure he had enough food and resources.
Officially, of course, FEMA is making nice with the celebrity cook.
"Chef Andrés and the World Central Kitchen did a lot of good and helped a lot of disaster survivors in Puerto Rico and we're very appreciative chef jose andres hurricane maria that work," William Booher, a FEMA spokesperson, told Newsweek.
In Andrés's first 11 days on the island, he lost 25 pounds. He sustained a knee injury when he fell in a river while delivering rice. He and his team had also helped the National Guard deliver 150 chickens to more rural parts of the island, navigating mountainous terrain. Andrés doesn't take all of the credit: The chef highlighted the efforts of the other members of his team as well as members of the Coast Guard and immigration officials who he said "helped feed people with the most love I've ever seen in my life."
It's not the first time Andres has tangled with Trump. The chef, best known for his signature Washington, D.C. restaurant minibar, was supposed to open a restaurant inside the Trump International Hotel in D.C., but pulled out in 2015 after then-candidate Trump disparaged Mexicans in his campaign kickoff.
Trump sued for breach of contract, and Andres countersued, claiming that Trump's inflammatory rhetoric made it impossible for him to hire staff. The dispute was settled earlier this year, with each side calling the other "friend."
That friendship apparently lasted until Hurricane Maria.
Chef José Andrés came to the rescue again, serving meals to Guatemala Volcano Victims
After the devastation of Hurricane Maria, which hit Puerto Rico last September, renowned chef José Andrés set out to help the victims with what he knows best: food. At the end of October, just one month after the natural disaster struck, the Spanish chef announced that he had served 2 million meals on the ravaged Chef jose andres hurricane maria territory.
Now, Andrés is at it again, using his talents and platform to help the victims of the Volcán de Fuego eruption in Guatemala. The natural disaster took the lives of over 90 people and displaced thousands in the Central American country.
Four days after the eruption, the chef arrived with a team of 12 volunteers and in his story time there, has already provided more than 6,000 meals a day to the Guatemalans with three kitchens and six food trucks.
Andrés and the volunteers aim to be in Guatemala for about a month, even amid the dangerous work conditions. “The volcano still has potential to be very damaging without us knowing,” Andrés told CNN. “We were in Ceilán the other day, and lava began coming down, but we were not aware of it because the thunderstorms [got mixed up] with volcano noise.”
In 2012, the renowned chef founded World Central Kitchen, a non-profit organization that provides smart solutions to hunger and poverty using the power of food to empower communities and strengthens economies. The organization recently helped California wildfire victims and those affected by the volcano eruption in Hawaii.
Noted chef José Andrés and actor/activist Sean Penn are of course each well regarded for their respective talents. But in recent years, they have worked both individually and together to provide philanthropic assistance to those in need. Join us for a program that will salute these efforts and discuss what we all can do to help others during this challenging time. Chef Chef jose andres hurricane maria World Central Kitchen has served nearly 25 million meals throughout the United States, Spain and beyond in response to the COVID pandemic. By feeding health-care workers across the country with meals prepared at restaurants that would have otherwise remained closed due to stay-at-home orders, he has provided laid-off restaurant workers jobs during the pandemic. His organization also served more than 3.6 million meals to the people of Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria, and in 2018, he was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Mr. Penn's CORE is a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives and strengthening communities affected by or vulnerable to crisis around the world, including in Haiti, The Bahamas, Puerto Rico, and the United States. CORE is currently committed to an integrated approach for the COVID-19 relief effort across the United States, which is inclusive of streamlined testing with results returned within 48 hours, comprehensive and timely contact tracing programs, supported quarantine and isolation services that provide shelter, food and wage replacement. The organization has been operating free COVID-19 testing sites across the United States since March, with a focus on serving vulnerable and underserved communities, targeting low-income groups, communities of color, first responders and essential workers. At the end of this program, Chef Andrés will be presented with the John Steinbeck Award "In the Souls of the People." This award is given to writers, artists, thinkers and activists whose work captures Steinbeck’s empathy, commitment to democratic values, and belief in the dignity of people who by circumstance are pushed to the fringes. The phrase “in the souls of the people” comes from Chapter 25 of The Grapes of Wrath. Chef Andres has cited John Steinbeck as a motivator for his work, also quoting The Grapes of Wrath: "Whenever there is a fight, so hungry people may eat, I will be there.'" Mr. Penn is a past recipient of the Steinbeck Award, and other recipients include Bruce Springsteen, Arthur Miller, Joan Baez, Dolores Huerta, Michael Moore, Ken Burns and Rachel Maddow. Usa t mobile imei check for this important program about giving back. NOTES In partnership with the Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies, San Jose State University. A portion of the program's proceeds will go to the Steinbeck Center, and a portion of the proceeds from Chef Andrés' book We Fed an Island will go to the Chef Relief Network of World Central Kitchen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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