José Andrés is a two-Michelin-star Spanish chef with approximately 20 restaurants (primarily in the United States). With numerous culinary accolades under his belt, Andrés could have stopped there, but there’s a reason he has also been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and that reason is World Central Kitchen.
Andrés founded World Central Kitchen in 2010 in response to the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti that same year. Originally begun to help feed people in the wake of natural disasters — including Australian wildfires, Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, Covid-19 everywhere, and more — it has expanded its response to humanitarian, climate, and community crises in general, including, most recently, serving refugees and others in Ukraine and border countries. The non-profit, non-government organization (NGO) began with a simple premise; in the words of José Andrés, “When people are hungry, send in cooks. Not tomorrow, today.”
Determined not just to dump money, food, and/or supplies and run, World Central Kitchen sends people into the area, but also sources and hires locally as much as possible to also help rebuild local economies and infrastructures. Or, put more simply, says Andrés, “After a disaster, food is the fastest way to rebuild our sense of community. We can put people back to work preparing it, and we can put lives back together by fighting hunger.” Most importantly, continues Andrés, “Cooking and eating together is what makes us human.”
The organization does much more, but even if it didn’t, this simple (but extraordinary) act of going into disaster areas, war zones, border camps, and tent cities (when others are running away or ignoring the crisis) is an incredible act of human goodness.
The well-known quote from Mr. Rogers (or, more accurately, Mr. Rogers’ mom) goes, in times of trouble, to find hope, “[l]ook for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” José Andrés and everyone involved with World Central Kitchen are always helping. If you want to help too, visit their website for ways to get involved and ways to give.
Have a great Night Thread, Avocados! Be helpers!