Chef, restaurateur, author, and activist José Andrés has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, the Washington Post confirms.
Andrés and his fledgling nonprofit World Central Kitchen did more to feed the Americans of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria struck the island last September than any other single government or non-government agency. Under his direction, the organization overcame failures of leadership, bureaucracy, lack of financial aid, corruption, and an almost complete lack of infrastructure to serve millions of hot meals in cities, towns, and remote areas of the island.
Since last year, Andrés and his team have also helped feed Americans in Houston, the Carolinas, Hawai‘i, and California, responding to each natural disaster — from hurricanes and floods to fires — with urgency.
“Oh, wow,” he told the Washington Post when reached for a comment. “They nominate everybody.” And then he reiterated thoughts he’s shared in the past, about how food now plays a significant part in politics, from immigration and national security to public health and labor law. “In the end,” he said, “you see that food every day is having a bigger impact.”
Andrés was nominated for the award by Democratic Rep. John Delaney of Maryland, who wrote in his nomination:
Because of Mr. Andrés’s work, millions of people have been fed. This is the most basic human need and Mr. Andrés has proven to be world-class in this essential humanitarian field. With an incredible spirit and an innovative mind, Mr. Andrés is solving one of the world’s ancient problems and supplying world leaders with a new road map to provide more effective disaster relief in the future.
Though there are some 300 nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize annually, only one winner is chosen per year. The winner for 2019 will be announced next October. Previous winners include Barack Obama, Kofi Annan, Shirin Ebadi, and Nelson Mandela; winners tend to be politicians, diplomats, lawyers, or doctors. If he wins, Andrés would be the first chef awarded the prestigious prize, which includes a gold medal, diploma, and variable sum of money decided upon by the foundation, generally around $1 million.
Andrés also downplayed news of the nomination on Twitter, responding to a tweet from entrepreneur Ted Leonsis by saying “if it is [true], I’m humbled by it. I’m one more guy between thousands of people helping feed people in need, every day around the world, unrecognized...”