Anne Franke once said “Hunger is not a problem. It is an obscenity. How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” While he may or may not know of the quote Jose Andrés has spent his life adhering to it.
On September 20, 2017 when Hurricane Maria decimated Puerto Rico, electricity and running water were foremost on the minds of those involved in recovery efforts. Yet, food was no less of an issue. Something not lost on Jose Andrés. Who shortly after the events of the hurricane dove in head first into recovery efforts by doing what he does best — feeding people.
Within five days after the hurricane Andrés essentially constructed a food provision infrastructure consisting of a network of kitchens, supply chains and delivery services. The results, more than 2.2 million warm meals and sandwiches served. No other single agency — not the Red Cross, the Salvation Army nor any government entity — has fed more people freshly cooked food since the hurricane. Andrés told the New York Times “We only came here to try to help a few thousand because nobody had a plan to feed Puerto Rico, and we opened the biggest restaurant in the world in a week. That’s how crazy this is. In my life, I never expected the Salvation Army to be asking me for food,” he said. “If one of the biggest NGOs comes to us for food, who is actually going to be feeding Puerto Rico? We are. We are it.”
For stepping in to help during a time of need, and stepping away to stand up for his principals, Jose Andrés is one of our Men of the Year.