Andrés' culinary empire includes more than two dozen restaurants in Washington, D.C., Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and other cities, but currently, the world-renowned chef's main concern is feeding people who were hit by Hurricane Florence. According to CNN, Andrés and his team have two kitchens set up in North Carolina – one in the capital city of Raleigh and another in Wilmington -- two of the hardest-hit areas of the state. They also have three others ready to operate at any time should the need arise. The storm caused record rainfall in the area last week, and more than 400,000 residents are still without electricity.
According to a tweet from the Spanish-born chef, he and his WCK team have already served thousands of meals to evacuated residents and first responders.
Although floodwaters are making their work even more challenging, Andrés says his team will still carry on, with help from SWAT teams and the U.S. Army, which were enlisted by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. “We are always happy when we have military structure command. Thanks to them we have been able to deliver meals to more than five counties,” Andrés told CNN. “The governor helped us connect with the officials, and the officials are helping us connect to the people in need.”
Even though preparing food on such a large scale entails a lot of work, the chef and his team are not settling for simple dishes. They are going out of their way to make sure the meals being served to Hurricane Florence evacuees are healthy as well as savory.
Food not just for the body but also for the soul! Fresh salad, jalapeño mac&cheese, beef&potato stew, hot biscuits 😋 @WCKitchen is showing it is possible to serve delicious&nutritious meals for tens of thousands for people in need each day! #ChefsForCarolinas pic.twitter.com/RXkBgPXneD— José Andrés (@chefjoseandres) September 17, 2018
The 2018 James Beard Humanitarian Award recipient is no stranger to the aftermath of a natural disaster. In fact, the Florence effort is not World Central Kitchen's first disaster-relief operation, nor will it be the last. The chef established World Central Kitchen in 2010 in the wake of the devastating earthquakes that struck Haiti, and the hunger relief group has since provided food to victims of other disasters.
The team served more than 3.6 million meals in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of 2017's Hurricane Maria and stayed on the island for months to make sure that nobody was left hungry. In June, the humanitarian chef traveled to Guatemala to help feed victims of the volcanic eruption and in July, he teamed up with fellow celebrity chef Guy Fieri to feed first responders to the wildfires in California.