José Andrés now serves “well above” 100,000 meals per day in Puerto Rico. The Washington, DC-based chef arrived on the island nearly three weeks ago with his disaster-relief nonprofit World Central Kitchen to help feed those affected by Hurricane Maria.
After arriving just days after the hurricane made landfall, Andrés mobilized volunteers, activated food trucks, and called on #ChefsForPuertoRico to establish kitchens all over the island. Recently, Andrés switched focus to serve the people in Puerto Rico’s hardest hit areas and those that have been neglected by other forms of aid.
Over the weekend, the chef established one of his kitchens in Aguadilla, a town on Puerto Rico’s northwest coast left without water, cell phone service, or electricity in the wake of the hurricane. The Aguadilla kitchen joins kitchens in Ponce, Farjado, and more than one operation in San Juan, including the World Central Kitchen headquarters at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico, which Andrés described as “the largest restaurant in the world.”
World Central Kitchen serves the areas without activated kitchens in other ways, and recently, the operation spread out. Starting Friday, the nonprofit delivered food door-to-door in Loíza, sent food trucks to Vega Alta, and set up a paella popup in Humacao to serve 5,000 people.
Puerto Rico still mostly lacks electricity, and water and other supplies are hard to come by, even for World Central Kitchen. But, Andrés’s team of hero chefs and volunteers remain dedicated to getting food to those who need it, even delivering meals by rope to people stranded in a high-rise apartment building.
However, Andrés is adamant that he can’t single-handedly repair the devastation Hurricane Maria left behind. The chef consistently calls out FEMA for its lack of support, and during his weeks in Puerto Rico, he uses his Twitter platform to publicly ask for their help, as well as to request help from other organizations, like AARP.
Still, Andrés is clearly an expert in matters of disaster relief, and yesterday, the chef took a pause from Puerto Rico updates to dole out advice to people in Ireland, who were expecting their own hurricane, tweeting “We need to start having food feeding plans yesterday!”
• @chefjoseandres [Twitter]