October 23

Believe There Is Good

Chef José Andrés

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On Tuesday, October 17, celebrity chef and restauranteur José  Andrés reported that his NGO “World Central Kitchen” has now distributed one million ready-to-eat meals in Puerto Rico for the victims of Hurricane Maria.  And, he assured those continuing to struggle in the wake of the storm that WCK is there for the long haul.  They will keep feeding Puerto Ricans until local authorities can once again provide essential services.  “When we establish contact with a community,” Chef Andrés said, “We take care of that place until they can sustain themselves.”

José Andrés has been in Puerto Rico since September 25, when he immediately teamed with Chef José Enrique, a popular San Juan chef who was already preparing a Puerto Rican beef stew for evacuees.  In the first few days, they were preparing around 2,000 meals.  Within a week, they were cranking out 25,000 meals!   Chef Adrés attributes the success to WCK organization and having access to a large facilitiy.  He is currently working out of the massive kitchen in Coliseo de Puerto Rico, the San Juan sports complex and convention center, where they can prepare 60,000 meals a day.  It wasn’t long before he was coordinating efforts with Homeland Security.  The U.S. Government contracted WCK for 20,000 meals per day.  That number was quickly raised to 40,000. 

When Andrés indicated that he has the capability of preparing 120,000 meals per day, FEMAsaid an arrangement of that magnitude would exceed their grant authority without putting the contract out for bid – a process which could take months. “My question is …” Chef asks, “If we don’t do it … who will?  And, the meals are needed NOW!”   Andrés is fond of quoting a passage from John Steinbeck’s novel, “The Grapes of Wrath.”  It’s the passage where Tom Joad says, “Where there’s a fight so hungry people can eat … I will be there.” We are inspired by Chef José Andrés and are grateful that he has joined the fight to help the ravaged island of Puerto Rico.