This week marks the fifth anniversary of the 2010 Haitian earthquake. More than 316,000 people died, and many of the survivors still lack access to food, water, and sanitation.
Chef Jose Andres and World Central Kitchen (WCK) believe there is still much to celebrate. Over the past three years, WCK has empowered people, strengthened the economy, developed key partnerships, created a skilled workforce, and helped communities feed themselves.
Haiti Breathes, a partnership between the WCK, the U.S. Agency for International Development, Chemonics, and Switch Haiti, has transitioned 100 Port-au-Prince schools from charcoal burning stoves to liquid petroleum gas. Every year, four million people die from complications due to cooking with charcoal and wood. Haiti Breathes is targeting 700 more schools in the area to help make cooking safer.
“When mothers and daughters use our cookstoves, they aren’t inhaling harmful fumes. And because our cookstoves don’t use wood, we know the little girls aren’t working all the time to collect fuel, so maybe they can have the opportunity to go to school,” explains Chef Andres.
Another partnership between WCK and CESAL is training the mountain communities of Haiti on more sustainable forms of cooking and farming. The Smart School Kitchen project is their flagship project. It has built and maintained a community garden that feeds 200 students daily; trained four cooks to clean cooking stoves; trained the entire community on safe home cooking; and constructed a chicken farm with 27 chickens. The success of the Smart School Kitchen model has led WCK and CESAL to include 50 additional schools in the next four years, which will impact the lives of more than 250,000 children.
WCK also operates the Chef Network, a group of 50 chefs from around the world who have committed to supporting smart solutions to hunger and poverty.
“I believe chefs have a unique opportunity to influence how people think about our food system, both here at home and around the world. I’m really honored that this group of talented chefs have agreed to offer their expertise to support WCK and help create sustainable food economies in communities around the world,” says Chef Andres.
Chefs Andres’ front line of chefs includes Mario Batali, Anthony Bourdain, Tom Colicchio, Carla Hall, Spike Mendelsohn, and Andrew Zimmern. The Chef Network works in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Africa, and Latin America, using their culinary skills and perspectives to feed communities, design curriculums, build smart kitchens, and create jobs.
In Port-au-Prince, WCK collaborated with Partners in Health to create a sustainable bakery, Boulanjri Beni, in the middle of an orphanage. This revenue-generating project trains bakers in sanitation, business guidance, entrepreneurship, and baking, while creating revenue for the orphanage. Today, they bake around 800 rolls a day.
Boulanjri Beni and other similar projects’ proven success has created interest in expanding the social enterprise model to four new countries, with six new potential partners.
“We have 50 chefs who are ready to go around the world with us and change the world. We are capitalizing on the skills and knowledge of these chefs,” says Brian MacNair, Executive Director of WCK.
Food Tank has the honor of partnering with Chef Jose Andres and WCK next week at the 1st Annual Food Tank Summit. Chef Andres will be speaking at Food Tank’s two-year anniversary celebration on January 21st at 5:30 PM EST. Tickets are on sale now! We hope you’ll join us in gaining inspiration from Chef Andres, along with Joe Yonan, Washington Post Food and Dining Editor, and Dan Simons, Farmers Restaurant Group Founding Partner. Buy your tickets HERE NOW before they sell out!