Chef Jose Andrés’ Kitchen has Served 1 Million Meals in Puerto Rico, Nearly Double the Red Cross

by Gabe Ortiz –

Chef José Andrés landed in Puerto Rico more than three weeks ago and has been working nonstop to feed his fellow U.S. citizens. Initially, chefs Andrés and José Enrique were able to prepare enough nutritious meals to feed around 2,000 people daily—significant, but keep in mind a population of over 3 million is in crisis—but as their “Chefs for Puerto Rico” campaign gained steam, their efforts overshadowed even the Red CrossImmigrants like chef José Andrés: they get the job done.

Nearly a month after Maria, Andrés, World Central Kitchen and volunteers have reached a milestone in their #chefsforpuertorico campaign: As of Tuesday, they’ve prepared and delivered a million meals to residents. As a point of comparison, the American Red Cross has served more than 540,000 meals and snacks (and distributed more than 534,000 relief supplies) in the weeks since hurricanes Irma and Maria struck Puerto Rico, according to a spokeswoman for the organization.

”My question is, if we don’t do it, who’s going to do it?” Andrés said. “Fresh food is hard to come by. Sometimes the only fresh food people are eating is fruit we are bringing. The only hot meal they are eating is the lukewarm meal we are bringing.”

Andrés told the Washington Post that he learned lessons while assisting in Hurricane Harvey relief that helped shaped his actions in Puerto Rico, mainly that “you need a facility with a large-capacity kitchen to prepare meals on a massive scale; otherwise you’ll never quiet a city’s hunger pains following a disaster.” With the assistance of Puerto Rico’s governor, Andrés secured the area’s coliseum, where he and up to 500 volunteers prepare more than 60,000 meals daily.

Fourteen other “Chefs for Puerto Rico” kitchens throughout the island have helped the effort hit a cumulative 1 million meals. And unlike a certain person, Andrés seems dedicated to staying until Americans there see relief.

“When we go to a place, we take care of that place until we feel it has the right conditions to sustain itself,” he continued. “That’s what a relief organization should be.”

 

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos