Chef Jose Andres marshals supplies and volunteers into a sandwich production line
A veteran of previous disaster relief, he's focusing on feeding hospital workers in San Juan
He got the bread, the meat and the cheese. He got volunteers on a production line. And within hours, renowned chef Jose Andres got thousands of hospital workers fed.
Better known for serving delicate, small plates of food in high-class restaurants in New York or Los Angeles, Andres still seems in his element simply finding a way to get food to the hungry.
“I always say that chefs like me, we love to feed the few, but I think we love even more feeding the many,” he said.
He’s in San Juan on his own initiative, in the same way that he’s been to previous disaster zones – to make sure people eat.
Some food is donated, some he procures. The bills and the paperwork can get sorted later.
“I’m sure the Red Cross has money,” he says. “I’m sure FEMA has money. I’m sure they are using the money well, but I can tell you, as the private sector, we can use the money very well.”
When he found chicken and rice, he got paella made and delivered to an old people’s home. He finds ways to stretch ingredients, to get more meals out.
Mostly the meals are going to hospitals to feed the staff working long hours in increasingly desperate conditions caused by power outages and fuel shortages, let alone the humanitarian crisis happening all around.
“It seems that right now employees are not receiving food. They have no money, no functioning kitchen,” he says.
“It seems they are super happy that we were able to provide people who are working 14, 16 hours straight with one meal.”
And while he’s had a very public fight with President Donald Trump, for now Andres just wants everyone to come together for the future of Puerto Rico.
On one day, he and his volunteers feed 3,000 people. For the next day, he promptly raises the target to 5,000.