José Andrés is known for his Wholehearted actions. In his most recent endeavor, Restaurants for the People, Andres has taken on the war in the Ukraine serving more than 170 million meals. This plus countless disaster relief efforts helps in so many ways- providing fresh meals to communities in need and keeping small business restaurants open. The concept is simply to pay out-of-work restaurants to cook meals for their neighbors in need of fresh food. To date, $105 million has been disbursed to small restaurants feeding their community in just six months. And now Restaurants for the People is in over 400 cities across 35 states—including New York, Miami, Oakland, Houston, Atlanta, Seattle, and Chicago.
Andrés has a history of humanitarian efforts. When Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico, the chef and restaurateur didn’t just offer help from his nonprofit, World Central Kitchen, he wholeheartedly jumped in. Within days Andrés began cooking meals with a local chef, built a volunteer network, coordinated the #chefsforpuertorico campaign, and quickly went from serving 1,000 to 25,000 hot meals per day. In just one month, his team had prepared and delivered one million meals. Andrés pledged that his organization would be feeding Puerto Ricans until they were able to feed themselves. “When we go to a place, we take care of that place until we feel it has the right conditions to sustain itself. That’s what a relief organization should be.” This massive relief effort isn’t surprising from the Michelin-awarded chef who arrived in this country with just $50 in his pocket. His restaurants seek to tell stories of a culture through food, and his ThinkFood Group’s mission is “changing the world through the power of food.”