The tireless Michelin-starred, Spanish-born chef leads a double life. He is the owner, and principal food designer of 37 trendy, mostly high-end restaurants in Washington, Beverly Hills and elsewhere, but has also emerged as a leader in humanitarian relief, organizing large-scale food supplies to victims of natural disasters. Following the 2017 Puerto Rico hurricane, Andrés mobilized local chefs and volunteers to cook more than two million meals and deliver them to remote stricken areas that had been left without electricity, gas, clean drinking water or money – at an estimated cost of $400,000 a day. “No other single agency – not the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, nor any government entity – has fed more people freshly cooked food since the hurricane,” the New York Times reported. The hub of the operation was Andrés’ World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit that evolved out of his relief efforts following the Haiti earthquake in 2010. From initially providing food in devastated areas, World Central Kitchen moved to sending American and Haitian chefs to teach the islanders healthier ways of cooking, donating cookers using natural gas to small restaurants to reduce the use of coal and wood fires, and introducing new ways of fighting hunger. In May, as he received the James Beard Foundation’s Humanitarian Award, Andrés was talking of transforming his World Central Kitchen from an ad-hoc effort to a permanent, international relief organization.
Philanthropic 50: José Andrés