Chef Jose Andres Serves Up Millionth Meal in Puerto Rico

One American chef has served up more meals than the Red Cross.

By Ethan L. Johns
October 19, 2017

Image: José Andrés/Facebook

On Tuesday, José Andrés reached a milestone. Less than one month after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the American chef—along with helpers from his organization, World Central Kitchen—served his millionth meal in the territory.

Andrés, a naturalized US citizen of Spanish origin, arrived in Puerto Rico on September 26th to find a territory without functional electricity or phone lines. Before this, he had been in Houston, serving meals and providing food aid in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Beginning with 1,000 to 2,000 meals cooked in one kitchen, Andrés was able to scale up his operation to include 15 kitchens which are now capable of churning out up to 60,000 chef-cooked meals each day.

Though Andrés was initially critical of US leadership and FEMA in the aftermath of the disaster, he has since made friends with the Department of Homeland Security, whose actions have allowed him to widen the scope of his deliveries to feed Puerto Ricans in further-removed communities.

“When we establish contact with a community, we maintain that contact,” Andrés told the Washington Post. “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 founded World Central Kitchen in 2010 after the Haiti earthquake. The organization sees food as an essential agent of change that has the power to better health, education and local economy.

Though Puerto Rico still has a long and hard recovery ahead of it, it’s worth taking a moment to celebrate Andrés’s accomplishments, which show that through the power of organization, it is possible for one person to make a million stomachs'-worth of difference.

If you would like to help fund World Central Kitchen’s relief efforts, you can do so here.

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About Ethan L. Johns

Ethan is the Food News Writer at Genius Kitchen. An expert on the Parisian bistrot, he likes bitters and salted butters, and is no fan of dessert unless it's made with fruit. His hobbies include reading up on the history of borscht and attempting to roll perfect couscous by hand. Twits & Instagram @EthanLJohns