Do you guys know about Jose Andres yet? He’s a pretty famous chef mostly known for bringing molecular gastronomy to America from his homeland of Spain. Initially I thought he must just be some nerdy guy experimenting with food properties and presentations. Although it was a fun idea, I never expected him to be passionately down to earth about all kinds of food and all the global issues surrounding food scarcity, especially post natural disasters.
Fighting world hunger is not just a beauty queen talking point for him. He is very boots to the ground, sleeves rolled up, pocket vest on making and transporting food to people who need it. It’s easy to think his efforts are just a light good deed he is doing almost more to feel good about himself (everything counts, we need more of that too) but after reading this book I see just how deeply involved he was and is and how serious he is about wanted to feed everyone who needs help.
His non-profit, World Central Kitchen (WCK), feeds many people in many areas, but this book, We Fed an Island, focuses mainly on his time spent in Puerto Rico. I thought it would be kind of a feel good fluff piece – but it turned out to be a great expose on how the government “handles” disaster relief. Jose is saying they basically aren’t and chronicles his experience and frustrations with FEMA and the Red Cross. He expresses extreme contempt for Trump’s mishandling and of aide and his attitude of almost boasting about how little he cared about the people of Puerto Rico who are US citizens. Jose shows that many orgs with tons of money funneled toward them are in fact not doing much with it that helps real people. He showed what characters are actually making money off of disaster instead of fixing it. When Jose says this person at the Red Cross lied to me it’s incredibly credible especially when you look at the number of total deaths on the island during the disaster.
It’s actually a very morbid story, but there are bright moments and definitely a lot to be learned. Tons of chefs and volunteers wanted to help, there was money there and supplies, it was the bureaucracy that got in the way. In theory that’s fixable, it just takes a lot of people insisting on change. So for that reason, it’s a great read for people to be more educated.
Don’t forget it’s not just to be charitable, natural disasters happen all over the US and the world. Having people in charge that know exactly what to do might just save your own life someday so get informed and chat with your friends about it.
I’m inspired by Jose’s zeal and determination that he first brought to high end restaurants and now he’s bringing it to international food aide. His points are well researched and heartfelt and moving. I’m a big fat fan club member! 🙂
Check out his book (or one of his lectures) and let us know what you thought in the comments below.