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"People Have To Eat": Chef José Andrés Turning His Restaurants Into Community Kitchens

Culture & Community By O. DELGADO
"People Have To Eat": Chef José Andrés Turning His Restaurants Into Community Kitchens

Chef José Andrés is turning his Michelin-starred restaurants into community kitchens, where anyone who can't afford a meal will be given one for free.

Chef José Andrés, internationally-recognized culinary innovator, founder, chef and owner of ThinkFoodGroup's more than 30 Michelin-starred restuarants, proud immigrant, and "the man who leads a small army of chefs and volunteers in humanitarian efforts around the globe, has decided to forge ahead and do what he always does: Feed the people," reports the Washington Post.

Andrés' non-profit relief org, World Central Kitchen, has been feeding people during natural and political disasters for over a decade, serving up millions of free meals in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, and even in Washington D.C. during the government shut down. They are already set up feeding people in Arkansas and the Bronx, planning to open up sites in Washington, and considering larger-scale operations.

Now, Andrés is turning ThinkFoodGroup's Zagat-rated restaurants Zaytinya, America Eats Tavern, Oyamel and several locations of Jaleo into community kitchens, saying:

"People have to eat. Not everybody is going to be able to go to the supermarket. We have areas in America that are food deserts. We have millions of Americans that, if you go to their kitchens, their kitchens are empty. Not everybody has money to fill up for a month. That’s the reality. What are we going to do?"

The kitchens are taking care to follow CDC reccommendations, keeping staff to a minimum and even putting signs on the ground to help people keep the precautionary 6-foot distance while in line.

Most importantly, they are offering hungry people gourmet meals, like hangar steak and fried potatoes, for anywhere from $6-$12 - or for free if they can't afford to pay. 

With his experience feeding millions during disasters, Chef Andrés says the kitchens he is organizing are a "blueprint" for what may need to happen if things get worse.

"World Central Kitchen has proven, every time, that we can adapt to every circumstance, from fires to volcanoes to political situations to earthquakes to typhoons to tsunamis to places where that there is nothing left, like the Bahamas," he says. "We need to prepare for the worst and hope for the best." 

Así es. Gracias Chef Andrés!