Time magazine has released its annual list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. The series, now in its fifteenth year, recognizes the activism, innovation, and achievements of figures from around the globe. For the second time in six years, chef José Andrés was named as an honoree alongside 99 others, including snowboarding prodigy Chloe Kim, rapper Cardi B, and the students of Parkland, Florida.
Andrés’ tribute was written by his dear friend Emeril Lagasse, a James Beard Award-winning New Orleans-style chef beloved for his Creole and Cajun cuisine. The 58-year-old describes Andrés as a culinary icon, a brilliant restaurateur, and a hero.
“His relief efforts in natural-disaster-stricken places like Haiti and Puerto Rico have had profound and lasting effects. By providing meals to people in dire and desperate situations, he not only ends their hunger — he offers them a powerful sense of hope for the future,” Lagasse wrote.
Andrés and his nonprofit World Central Kitchen fed several million people in Puerto Rico, Texas, and Mexico City in 2017 in the wake of hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes. He also cooked meals for Californians displaced by violent wildfires. The 48-year-old native of Spain is a huge advocate for immigration, and the James Beard Foundation even recently named him “Humanitarian of the Year.”
If you thought this guy couldn’t get any better, you’re wrong. Andrés is also slated to receive an honorary doctorate degree in May from Tufts University for his public service, according to GrubStreet. It’s no wonder Lagasse calls his pal “exceptional, generous, compassionate.” Do you need another reason to love José Andrés? Here are 18!