When we think of food delivered in a humanitarian crisis situation, we don’t often consider paella, tacos, and arroz de tripleta to be among the menu options. More likely, it’s pre-prepared military meals, which, when eaten by civilians, can cause digestion problems within just a few days of consistent consumption.
But Spanish chef José Andrés has other ideas.
The chef, known for his Michelin star DC restaurant “minibar,” television show appearances, and for being one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2012, has delivered more than 100,000 hot meals per day to Puerto Ricans suffering from the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Eater reports.
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Not only is he providing a critical resource at a time 80% of the country’s crops were decimated and non-perishable food items are sitting at ports in San Juan unable to be delivered, but the menu options also look pretty darn appealing.
In Humacao, the chef set up a pop-up paella shop that fed an estimated 5,000 people. In Loíza, volunteers went door-to-door to deliver hot food and fresh fruit. Food and supplies were airlifted into the small island of Vieques, off the coast of the mainland, which was one of the hardest-hit during the hurricane.
Andrés has been among the first to reach some of the more remote areas of Puerto Rico with hot meals, including a town in the mountains near Utuado, the towns of Cambalache and Yauco in the rural southwest of the country, and the tiny island of Culebra.
Andrés is working with his charitable foundation, World Central Kitchen (WCK), to deliver the meals. The initiative is supported by food donations, financial backing from donors, and volunteers delivering food aid on-the-ground, according to a post on WCK’s website.
The organization has already delivered more than 350,000 hot meals across eight different food kitchens.
“We have big dreams because people have big needs,” Andrés said of the initiative.
In San Juan, he’s been working with Puerto Rico chef José Enriqué to deliver meals to 8,000 people per day in locations across the capital, according to the Washington Post.
Andrés has been critical of the Trump administration’s response to the crisis on the island.
"People are hungry today. FEMA should be in the business of taking care of Americans in this minute," Andrés told TIME. "The American government has failed."
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