José Andrés is a Chef, Humanitarian and Author from Puerto Rico

Prepared More Hot Meals in Puerto Rico than the Red Cross

After Maria, José Andrés and his team have prepared more hot meals in Puerto Rico than the Red Cross. – Washington Post

José Andrés and World Central Kitchen have prepared and delivered a million meals since arriving in Puerto Rico in late September. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

Chef José Andrés – Restaurateur & Relief Worker

In the fall of 2017, as José Andrés and an untold number of volunteers were preparing millions of hot meals for Puerto Ricans following Hurricane Maria, the celebrity chef realized that the hunger that swept across the island was not just the result of a powerful Category 4 storm. It was the result of a natural disaster plus some man-made ones.

Puerto Rico, in short, could not feed itself before the hurricane hit, let alone after it.

José Andrés World Central Kitchen (NPO)

More than a year after Maria made landfall, World Central Kitchen – the nonprofit organization that Andrés founded after the Haiti earthquake in 2010 — and many other organizations are working with small farmers, ranchers, fish co-ops and food-related businesses to rebuild the island’s agricultural economy. They want to make it more food secure and help it recover faster when disaster strikes. They all seem to have absorbed an important lesson in the wake of Maria: If they can’t trust the territorial government to help after a disaster, they better rely on themselves.

Food Diaries of Chef José Andrés

Chef José Andrés discusses the first thing he ate in America, his political aspirations, and what would have happened if he had worked with President Trump. (The Washington Post)

“We Fed an Island” After Maria (Category 4 Hurricane)

With his book “We Fed an Island,” chef-and-restaurateur-turned-relief worker José Andrés doesn’t just tell the story about how he and a fleet of volunteers cooked millions of meals for the Americans left adrift on Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. He exposes what he views as an outdated top-down, para-military-type model of disaster relief that proved woefully ineffective on an island knocked flat by the Category 4 hurricane.

“When we establish contact with a community, we maintain that contact,” Andrés said during a phone interview from San Juan. “When we go to a place, we take care of that place until we feel it has the right conditions to sustain itself. That’s what a relief organization should be.”

Andrés also points plenty of fingers. At President Trump. At the Federal Emergency Management Agency. At the American Red Cross. At Puerto Rican politicians who let their own people down. No one is spared Andrés’s critical eye, including the chef himself.

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