Less than a month after hitting the ground in Houston to feed thousands of people there in support of Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, chef José Andrés is in Puerto Rico. He’s been Tweeting about his progress and the aftermath of Hurricane Maria while cooking for relief workers, emergency personnel, and hurricane victims. Now he’s being called “the face of American disaster relief” for his efforts. [related]
Andrés has been called a “food hero,” because he has done just this sort of thing before. In 2010 he founded World Central Kitchen in response to the devastating earthquake in Haiti. The nonprofit is dedicated to fighting hunger and poverty, and it has helped with disaster relief in Haiti, Nicaragua, Zambia, and the United States. Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico. It destroyed 80 percent of the agricultural industry there, and it left the entire island without power. Millions of people are in need of food and water. So Andrés showed up with supplies, including a large donation of chicken from Perdue, and started teaming up with local chefs, restaurants, and food trucks to get people what they need.
Andrés’ efforts and celebrity have gotten a lot of attention for Puerto Rico. The Washington Post called Andrés “the face of American disaster relief.” Andrés became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2013.
“Unlike the president, Homeland Security or the Federal Emergency Management Agency, José Andrés has no responsibility to respond to natural disasters, and yet the Washington celebrity chef has become a reliable presence in disaster zones, deploying his Chef Network to help feed thousands of displaced people,” the Washington Post’s Tim Carman wrote.
On Twitter, Andrés wrote that they’re running on diesel because there’s no electricity, and getting gas for vehicles to deliver food is a difficulty. But he and chefs, rescue workers, and local volunteers fed more than 13,000 people yesterday and are on track to exceed that number today.
Many of Andrés’ fellow chefs and food industry leaders have been Tweeting their support for Andrés and his work, and encouraging people to donate to World Central Kitchen to get more supplies and equipment directly to Puerto Rico.
Anyone wanting to help Andrés’ efforts can make a donation to World Central Kitchen here.