Monumental Sports and Entertainment chairman Ted Leonsis had a very good take on Tuesday. Leonsis tweeted that world famous chef José Andrés “should be Time’s Man Of The Year.”
Leonsis was reacting to a 60 Minutes feature on Andrés done by Anderson Cooper, which first aired on CBS Sunday night. Cooper profiled the chef’s efforts in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico. Days after Hurricane Maria devastated the island, Andrés flew to the island with $10,000 of his own money in cash and as many credit cards as he could find.
The first day Andrés arrived, he made about a 1,000 meals. Two months later, after recruiting an army of volunteers and chefs, he’s serving 100,000 meals a day and has given out 3 million hot meals total. His passion has lifted up an island on the brink of disaster.
“I wake up after the hurricane and I ask ‘Who is in charge of feeding the people of Puerto Rico? And they tell me, ‘Everybody. Everybody’s in charge,'” Andrés said. “You know when you have to feed an entire island, you need to have one, one person, responsible.”
“There has to be a plan and someone needs to be responsible for achieving the plan,” he said.
With the help of private donations and money from the federal government, Andrés’s charity, World Central Kitchen, has prepared more hot meals than any of the other bigger more experienced disaster relief organizations here like the Salvation Army and the Red Cross.
“For me it was not difficult,” Andrés said. “The first thing I do – you are a chef – you find a kitchen. Everyone was saying ‘there is no food, there is no food.’ Well, that was not true. The big food distribution companies had food because they had fuel, they had diesel. They kept their refrigerators and the freezers working. There was plenty of food here.
“The problem was the urgency of now,” Andrés continued. “It’s a very simple thing when you’re a cook. When you’re hungry, you gather the food. You gather your helpers. You begin cooking and then you start feeding people.”
Andrés, who has no patience for governmental red tape, made his success on the island look easy. But he was an engine of change due to his intelligence and talent planning. His passion, joy, and humanitarianism inspired everyone around him.
“I didn’t put the name emergency in FEMA. I didn’t,” Andrés said. “But somebody’s going to have to tell me the meaning of emergency. To me, when we’re talking about food, is that emergency in food means one thing: people are hungry. And when you’re hungry, it’s today.
“Americans in Puerto Rico were hungry and we were not delivering food quick enough,” Andrés continued. “We need to make sure next time, we’re not negotiating contracts. The next time the federal government is ready to do what they are supposed to do. We need to make sure that next time something like this happens – maybe an earthquake, maybe another hurricane, or a terrorist attack — we need to make sure we are ready because the people of American don’t deserve anything less.”
Now Jose is Monumental! A true humanitarian, he should be Time’s Man Of The Year! Kudos to 60 Minutes. https://t.co/Cxabp5VeYe
— Ted Leonsis (@TedLeonsis) November 28, 2017
Leonsis, who is a friend and business partner with Andrés, helped the chef open a pop-up, called Launch Test Kitchen, at Verizon Center last season during Capitals and Wizards games.
Monumental Sports & Entertainment and Aramark, Verizon Center’s concessionaire, today announced a “pop up” collaboration with internationally acclaimed culinary pioneer and innovator Chef José Andrés that will bring his award-winning talent and cuisine to Washington Capitals and Wizards fans, as well as concert, family show and sporting event guests during the 2016-17 season.
The alliance is part of Aramark’s Launch Test Kitchen, an innovative, flexible dining concept designed to showcase local chefs, introduce new items and quickly adopt food trends. Located on Verizon Center’s main concourse by section 105, Launch Test Kitchen is equipped with a guest feedback component, inviting fans to share which items they enjoy the most.
Launch Test Kitchen will showcase Chef Andrés’ breadth of culinary offerings by featuring rotating menus from three of his renowned DC-based ThinkFoodGroup restaurants during the 2016-17 season, beginning with Beefsteak. The new stand had its soft launch on Saturday, Oct. 15.
Commented Andrés, “The Verizon Center has long been the centerpiece of our Penn Quarter neighborhood, home to many of my DC restaurants, so I’m thrilled to be able to share some of our concepts, via Aramark, with the fans of my beloved Wizards and Caps and all those who come to Verizon Center this fall and winter!”
Andrés has nearly 30 restaurants in America including a half dozen in Washington DC. Last season, he was regularly spotted at Capitals games.
Let's go @Capitals pic.twitter.com/mSP3gqpC3T
— José Andrés (@chefjoseandres) March 24, 2017
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