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Spanish chef wins The Princesa de Asturias de la Concordia award

Spanish chef Jose Andres packing meals to be distributed. EFE
Spanish chef Jose Andres packing meals to be distributed. EFE
  • World Central Kitchen fights hunger and poverty through improved health, education and training

José Andrés and World Central Kitchen, the NGO he founded in 2010 to fight hunger in places devastated by natural disasters, have been awarded the Princesa de Asturias de la Concordia 2021.

The nomination was proposed by Pascual Cabaño, the president of Queso Rey Silo. "Having become one of the most recognised chefs in the world, in 2012 José Andrés founded, after travelling to Haiti in 2010 to provide humanitarian aid, the World Central Kitchen (WCK), an NGO with which he carries out various cooperation projects with cooking as a central element," he explained.

A successful career

José Ramón Andrés Puerta was born in 1969 in the Asturian town of Mieres. In the late eighties he was a disciple of Ferrán Adrià. Since his arrival in the USA in 1991, he has managed to become a reference among chefs there. Owner of over twenty restaurants, he has participated in numerous publications and television programmes related to cooking, so contributing to the spread and popularisation of Spanish gastronomy.

Andrés converted six of his establishments in Washington and New York into community kitchens and WCK coordinated with several partners to distribute food. He is an ambassador for the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, led by the United Nations Foundation, and his work extends to other initiatives, such as the US State Department's Diplomatic Culinary Association or the DC Central Kitchen against hunger.

Accolades

He was named Exceptional American in 2014 by former US President Barack Obama, he has received among other recognitions, the McCall-Pierpaoli Humanitarian Award (USA, 2014), James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year (USA, 2018), Julia Child (USA, 2019), American Express Icon (Singapore, 2019), the Grand Prix de la Culture Gastronomique of the International Academy of Gastronomy (France, 2020) and the Basque Culinary World Prize (Spain, 2020). He was included among the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine in 2012 and 2018.

From earthquakes to Covid

World Central Kitchen fights hunger and poverty through improved health, education, training and social entrepreneurship. Initiatives such as Haiti Breathes - which made it possible to replace charcoal stoves with gas ones, the construction of kitchens that guarantee one meal a day in disadvantaged areas, or the school with which they train about forty new chefs every year are some examples.

In 2017, the WCK delivered thirty thousand meals to firefighters and emergency teams fighting to extinguish the fires on the Californian coast, gave one hundred thousand rations to those affected by hurricane Harvey in Houston and organised twenty-two kitchens and mobilised eighteen thousand volunteers to serve more than three million meals after hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

In 2019 WCK also launched the #chefsforvenezuela initiative to help alleviate the food crisis in that country and helped those affected by Cyclone Dorian in the Bahamas.

During the covid pandemic, it launched an aid campaign in the US that has served over thirty-six million meals in four hundred cities and has spread to more than twenty cities around the world, several in Spain, where, under the slogan #ChefsforSpain, it has partnered with restaurants and other organisations to provide up to forty thousand meals a day.

During the last year, WCK has been present distributing food to people in need on the US-Mexico border and to the victims of the Majumu earthquake (Indonesia) and the eruption of the La Soufrière volcano on the Caribbean island of St Vincent, among other places.