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José Andrés and Team Have Served One Million Meals in Puerto Rico

He’s established 15 kitchens to serve people in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria

José Andrés
Photo: José Andrés / Facebook

Yesterday was a big day for José Andrés: After three weeks in Puerto Rico, the Washington, D.C.-based chef served an impressive one million meals with his nonprofit World Central Kitchen.

Andrés arrived in Puerto Rico days after Hurricane Maria devastated the island and left much of its population without electricity and struggling to find food and water. Over the past 21 days, the superstar chef, with help from a network of #ChefsForPuertoRico and 500 volunteers, set up 15 kitchens around the island and partnered with 10 food trucks to feed Puerto Rico.

Through it all, Andrés used Twitter to draw attention to Puerto Rico’s ongoing need for support. But yesterday, the chef’s feed was full of good news. In a video update, he joyfully announced, “We are about to reach one million meals cooked by the men and women of Puerto Rico. Big day. I love you all!”

Eater has been following along since day one. Here’s a look back at how Andrés made it to the one million meal mark:

September 26: José Andrés arrives in Puerto Rico and sets up shop at Jose Enrique’s restaurant kitchen, in San Juan. He promises to serve 200 meals daily.

October 1: Andrés takes shots at President Trump. The chef describes what he would do about the situation in Puerto Rico if he were president, starting with actually spending time on the island. The Tweet storm is really an account of Andrés’s own recovery efforts. At this point, he is delivering thousands of meals per day, including sandwiches and paella, with the help of volunteers and “activated” food trucks and kitchens in San Juan, the island’s capital.

October 2: Andrés announces that World Central Kitchen will serve 50,000 meals per day and sets a goal of 100,000 meals daily for the end of the following week.

October 4: Andrés reveals a plan to activate school kitchens to feed more people on the island. He shares his idea with FEMA and the Department of Education, with the hope they can help make it happen. He also establishes a kitchen in Ponce, a city on Puerto Rico’s southern coast, and makes the Coliseo de Puerto Rico in San Juan, the island’s biggest stadium, the headquarters for World Central Kitchen’s operations. He feeds 30,000 people in a single day.

October 5: According to World Central Kitchen, Andrés and team fed 130,000 people since arriving in Puerto Rico. Donations from Goya Foods, UPS, and Chili’s help.

October 9: The chef and team surpass 350,000 meals served. Andrés sets up a kitchen in Farjado, on the northeastern part of the island, and, despite heavy rains in parts of the island, sends food trucks and volunteers to inland municipalities Naranjito, Corozal, Palmarejo, and the northern municipality of Vega Baja, “where the flooding was 10 feet high.”

October 10: On Twitter, Andrés calls FEMA “the most inefficient place on earth [for] leaving the people of Puerto Rico hungry and thirsty.” The World Central Kitchen team struggles to secure enough supplies to increase their sandwich output, but still manages to feed 80,000 people.

October 11: Andrés takes to Twitter to highlight areas that he says haven’t gotten any help since Hurricane Maria hit. He travels by helicopter to a mountaintop town to deliver 500 meals and announces plans to set up a kitchen there, as well as in several other locations. He hopes to have 12 kitchens established before leaving Puerto Rico.

October 12: World Central Kitchen is capable of feeding 97,000 people per day. Andrés journeys to Vieques, a smaller island off the coast of Puerto Rico, to set up a kitchen there. He continues to criticize the government for failing to adequately support Puerto Rico.

October 16: Andrés reaches his initial goal: The chef announces that World Central Kitchen is doing “well above” 100,000 meals per day.

October 17: Andrés and team successfully launch kitchens in Vieques and at a church in the east coast municipality Naguabo. The chef continues to lead the efforts to prepare and deliver sandwiches and hot food to 78 municipalities in Puerto Rico.

@chefjoseandres [Twitter]
@WCKitchen [Twitter]

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