November 1, 2017

José Andrés: Michelin-starred chef leads island-wide effort to feed Puerto Ricans after Hurricane Maria. So much for FEMA!

When Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico, leaving the entire island devastated, flooded, and without power, what did Michelin-starred chef José Andrés do?

He flew to the island and used his non-profit World Central Kitchen to organize food and meal preparation and delivery efforts at venues across the entire islands: rice, stews, paella, sandwiches, and such, using whatever food and equipment was available.

One of the food relief venues consisted of a large sandwich making operation.  Just how large, you might ask?  At one venue, up to 500 volunteers worked daily, making up to 30,000 sandwiches a day.  At one point the entire island of Puerto Rico was sold out of sliced cheese, because World Central Kitchen had bought it all for its sandwich-making operation.

World Central Kitchen's Puerto Rico Sandwich-Making Operation
Photo Credit:

And what part did FEMA play in World Central Kitchen's massive - and very successful - food relief efforts?  Not much, although FEMA officials had the balls to criticized Mr. Andrés and his efforts, saying  World Central Kitchen 'lacked the experience needed to organize a mass emergency feeding operation.'

Riiiight.  Way to go once again, FEMA.  Criticize private relief efforts when they are successful and don't fit in with your bureaucratic and bloated, have 100 meetings to discuss how to make a sandwich, operational blue print.

Read today's article about chef José Andrés food relief efforts (its in today's Food Section of the New York Times) by clicking on the Facebook post below.

And I'm once again reminded that you cannot count on the government to come and save you after a disaster.  Gotta be able to sustain yourself.

Oh, and by the way ... See the photo on the Facebook post below?  That is chef José Andrés  himself, walking through flood waters to deliver dinner to a 91-year-old veteran.

Amazing what people can accomplish when we work together.

Mary Rae Fouts


  1. Also all of the volunteers keeping busy helps with stress. Even if just making sandwiches.

    Laughed at the chef making sure portions were big enough and enough mayo on sandwiches. Comfort food!


Thanks for sharing your comments here! Mary Rae Fouts