Update 2/21: We Fed An Island will be released September 11, 2018 on Anthony Bourdain’s Ecco imprint. Bourdain said in a press release: “With a fraction of the resources available to the government, huge non-profits or NGOs, José Andrés and World Central Kitchen fed hundreds of thousands of desperate people in Puerto Rico, in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria...To say that I am proud to publish this book, and to help tell this vital story, is a vast understatement.”
Since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico last fall, chef José Andrés detailed his efforts to feed the island on Twitter, posting photos of the destruction, meal count milestones, and even criticisms of FEMA to the social media platform. Now, he’ll tell much of that story on a different platform — with a book.
The Washington, D.C. chef, known as much for acclaimed restaurants Jaleo and Minibar as for becoming the face of Hurricane Maria relief, confirmed that he’s writing a book about his experiences organizing in Puerto Rico. The book will presumably detail how his nonprofit organization World Central Kitchen, whose mission didn’t initially include disaster relief, made such an impact.
“We didn’t do anything different than running a restaurant,” Andrés says of the effort’s success, which total more than 3.5 million meals delivered to 70 different island locations to date. Upon landing on the island, he says, “I arrived and checked two to three kitchens; some of them I used over the next four months. I found the solution on the island.” In the following months, Andrés and WCK established pop-up kitchens throughout the island, delivered food to remote towns, and mobilized food trucks to ultimately feed more people than any other organization.
The chef was an active presence in Puerto Rico for weeks, and the nonprofit continues to operate months after the hurricane. Andrés, meanwhile, hasn’t stopped using his Twitter platform to advocate for the people of Puerto Rico.
“It’s good to be in some other people’s shoes, it’s the only way forward,” he says. “If we only look at the world from our own shoes, we don’t learn anything.”
Although Andrés has written cookbooks, a book like this would be a first for the chef. There’s no word yet on the timeline for publication, but naturally, he’s already let Twitter know it’s definitely in the works.
The Puerto Rico book is coming... https://t.co/5IZ07yFYyc— José Andrés (@chefjoseandres) February 6, 2018
Additional reporting by Amy McCarthy.