Cooking is one of those skills that will serve you well no matter where you are or what is going on. Food binds all of humanity together: We all need it, and most of us enjoy it, but not everyone has the skills or ability to provide it.
But Michelin-starred chef José Andrés does, and he’s been using his prowess and sway to not only craft amazing gourmet dishes but to also provide the most basic of needs for people in times of disaster through “World Central Kitchen.”
“José Andrés founded World Central Kitchen after the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti with the belief that food can be an agent of change,” the organization’s Facebook page story reads. “We have expanded globally and have developed into a group of chefs creating smart solutions to hunger and poverty.”
“Today, World Central Kitchen uses the expertise of its Chef Network to empower people to be part of the solution, with a focus on health, education, jobs, and social enterprise.”
While the chef’s current relief work is being focused in New York and Washington D.C., he’s helped in the past with communities in “Brazil, Cambodia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Nicaragua,” and Zambia.
Now, following the closure of dining rooms across the United States, Andrés has announced that he will be using some of his locations to serve the community by offering healthy, affordable food options.
“People of America … Important News: All my restaurants in DC area and soon others are closed until further notice,” he posted on March 16. “Here at ThinkFoodGroup safety of employees & guests is top priority. Some restaurants will transform into Community Kitchens to offer to-go lunches for those who need a meal.”
“These Community Kitchens will be part of World Central Kitchen efforts across the country in the coming days & weeks. Not for enjoyment … but a service for people in need of a plate of food during this emergency.”
“We are in an unprecedented emergency … and as painful as it is, ALL restaurants, bars, etc. must be closed across America if we are to avoid what’s happening in other countries. This is the only way.
In this moment, loving each other means staying away from each other. This is about We The People. Each of us has a responsibility to act for others, not just ourselves. We are all together in this fight.”
According to WTTG, the meals at his community kitchens will not be free, but they will be low-cost and there will be opportunities for some customers to pay for others’ meals. The hope is that other restaurants will see how they can adjust to serve their immediate communities.
“We will make sure that every single person in need of a meal will be fed,” he told Fox News.
“Let’s invest into the solution, which is pulling restaurants and cooks up and working, feeding people in need in the moment of emergency.”
This isn’t the first time the famed chef’s work has been noted and appreciated. According to his Facebook story, in both 2012 and 2018 he was named as one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People.”
The James Beard Foundation recognized him as “Humanitarian of the Year,” and he served over 3.6 million meals to the hungry after Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico through World Central Kitchen.
This most recent offering of low-cost food options will certainly be a blessing to those in the communities his kitchens are serving as well as helping keep cooks employed.
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