One of the finest examples of leadership through tragedy comes from immigrant chef José Andrés. He is a role model.
— Kristen Hawley
Chef José Andrés has never shied away from political activism, and the immigrant chef has stepped up his activism and humanitarianism in the wake of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. The first sentence of this Washington Post piece sums up the situation as he and a team from World Central Kitchen have arrived in the American territory to feed those in need:
“Unlike the president, Homeland Security or the Federal Emergency Management Agency, José Andrés has no responsibility to respond to natural disasters, and yet the Washington celebrity chef has become a reliable presence in disaster zones, deploying his Chef Network to help feed thousands of displaced people.”
Logistically, few are better equipped than seasoned chefs used to thinking on their feet and adapting to change. (Though one could argue that there are maybe a few federal agencies that should be able to make it happen here…)
Moves like this also embody the heart of hospitality. It’s easy to talk about feeding people and conviviality when there’s a line out the door at your restaurant and reservations are pouring in, but it’s another thing entirely to bring good food to people who literally need it more than anything. The industry shines in good times, but it’s the trying times that spotlight the true character, caring nature, and basic need that chefs and restaurants fulfill: doing their best to feed hungry people in any situation imaginable.
This story originally appeared in the October 2, 2017 Skift Table newsletter. Subscribe for the latest news and insight delivered twice weekly.
Innovative Restaurateurs: Rick Bayless Is Still Stretching His Wings
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After 32 years on the restaurant scene, you couldn’t blame Rick Bayless for kicking back. Instead, he’s rolling up his sleeves, minding each of his businesses — from airport locations to Chicago flagships — with care.