To continue our weekly spotlight stories, let’s shine a light this week to the amazing, chef extraordinaire: José Andrés. Having earned several Michelin stars for his bold cuisine, what makes him stand out from the crowd is that he has started one of the biggest disaster relief networks in the world. Impressive? We think so!
After a 7.0 magnitude earthquake shook the island nation of Haiti, Andrés joined several nonprofit organizations to fly to the country and assist in the many humanitarian relief efforts. During this time, he noticed that dirty cooking conditions coupled with overcrowding exacerbated poverty and disease on the island. Horrified, it became clear to him what needed to be done.
In 2013, three years after his trip to Haiti, he created his own non-profit – World Central Kitchen (WCK). The organization seeks to create a “chef-network” that takes professional chefs and uses their knowledge and resources to create some positive change. This so-called “chefs without borders” plan would get professionals to build working kitchens in public schools to ensure kids are eating at school, promote health by teaching food safety around the world, and create jobs to stimulate the hospitality industry in countries they visit.
So far, their disaster relief efforts have helped thousands and are aiming to assist many more in the future. When Hurricane Matthew made landfall in Haiti, 15,000 meals were distributed all around the country. In Puerto Rico, WCK and their network of chefs established kitchens across the island that fed people lacking food, water, and electricity. We seriously can’t wait what heroic thing he does next. In the meantime, check out what they’re currently doing in the link below.