It’s safe to say America is having a pretty rough year. Between the crass political follies, the generally poisonous cultural climate, and the natural disasters that seem to follow one after another, it’s hard to believe anyone can even summon the energy to start a riot over a discontinued chicken nugget sauce that was mentioned in a cartoon — but somehow people found a way to do just that. This is the world we live in now.
In such dark and stupid times, it’s comforting to imagine there might be an impossibly perfect comic book hero somewhere out there, a versatile, all-action do-gooder who at any given moment might be teaching a class at Harvard, or saving a man from choking at a basketball game, or feeding a preposterously large paella to hurricane survivors in Puerto Rico, pausing between gallant deeds only long enough to deliver the perfect clever one-liner.
Fortunately for those of us who follow the culinary world, that hero does exist: His name is José Andrés.
While it would be a stretch to call Andrés a mild-mannered chef by day — the wildly successful Spanish-American restaurateur oversees an expansive dining empire that spans the continent, after all — he’s justifiably proud of how he spends his free time: as an educator, a human rights activist and humanitarian, a prominent advocate for nutrition and ecological sustainability, and a tireless proponent of the idea that food can be a force for good. He also seems to simply have a knack for turning up at the right place at the right time to lend a helping hand or just flash a roguish grin.
We at The Daily Meal have been fans of Andrés’ food, his sense of humor, and his charitable work for a long while, of course. But it wasn’t until we stepped back to consider all of his larger-than-life feats of derring-do over the past several years that we fully realized: José Andrés is the hero we need right now.