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José Andrés Plans to Feed Government Employees in the Event of a Shutdown

It’s not the first time he’s provided free lunch

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Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

It’s been a hell of a week at the White House, between the president blindsiding government officials by abruptly deciding to remove 7,000 troops from Afghanistan, resulting in yet another cabinet departure, and the ongoing dramatic slide in the stock market. It’s almost easy to get distracted from the fact that Donald Trump is angling for a partial government shutdown to get funding for his signature campaign promise, a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. Amidst the turmoil on Friday though, the chef José Andrés offered a small slice of good news — there is such a thing as free lunch, at least on his watch.

In a Friday morning tweet, the president blamed Democrats for the possible shutdown ahead of an anticipated afternoon Senate vote on the funding. If a shutdown is not averted, hundreds of thousands of federal employees would be put on furlough until a new spending bill is passed. Enter José Andrés: Shortly after Trump’s tweet, the chef, humanitarian, and frequent critic of the Trump administration pledged to offer free sandwiches to federal government employees for lunch throughout the duration of a shutdown.

The offer of a free lunch is similar to one Andrés made in 2013 to government workers in DC during the last government shutdown. Dozens of restaurants and bars around the capital offered discounts to furloughed employees — a small gesture to the people whose paychecks are impacted most by political maneuvering.

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José Andrés: I Came to America to Cook. Now, I’m Here to Stay. [E]
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