José Andrés Has Served 50,000 Free Meals and Counting to Hungry Puerto Ricans

The team, on a mission. Photo: World Central Kitchen/Facebook

For those not following José Andrés’s regular updates via Twitter, the chef is still down in Puerto Rico feeding Americans. Andrés arrived a week ago on the storm’s heels, and has now upgraded his #ChefsforPuertoRico home base to the Choliseo, Puerto Rico’s biggest stadium, so he can feed even more people. His team has already cooked hot food for tens of thousands of Hurricane Maria victims who are stranded without homes or electricity, and his World Central Kitchen estimates it can hit 100,000 meals by week’s end. (That’s equal to almost 3 percent of Puerto Rico’s population.)

Yesterday, they distributed 20,000 sandwiches. They’re also serving heaping gobs of paella.

He’s using the stadium’s kitchen to prep hot dogs, hamburgers, arroz con pollo, fruit, and a Puerto Rican specialty called pastelón de carne that’s sort of like beef-and-plantain lasagna. It’s been hard not to contrast Andrés’s on-the-ground relief work (he’s running around perpetually hoarse and burnt-tomato red by the sun) with President Trump’s interpretation of aid — golf-trophy dedication, most recently. But it’s impossible not to now:

Andrés is also working to mobilize the island’s food trucks, and spent time strategizing yesterday with Puerto Rico’s Education secretary about a way to commandeer empty school cafeterias. “I was crying a lot today because I know we can do better,” he told CNN this past weekend:

His World Central Kitchen is asking anyone who can to please support their cause. Contributions help cover food, fuel, travel expenses, and other logistics; you can make a donation here.

José Andrés on Track to Serve 100,000 Meals to Puerto Ricans