on numerous WCK initiatives, boarded a plane
to Puerto Rico in September, mere days after the
category 5 storm swept across the island, killing
dozens and leveling the power grid. “I just knew
I needed to be there,” Andrés says.
It became immediately clear to them “that no
one there was really dealing with the hunger situation,” Mook says. “There was food, but no one
Eventually, they established 23 kitchens that
need the comfort of it.”
Andrés ended up spending more than 10
weeks on the island, spread over multiple trips.
Puerto Rico. A top official at FEMA, which had funded some of the World
Central Kitchen’s programs there, responded by writing off Andrés as a
“colorful . . . businessman looking for stuff to promote his business.”
There’s no question that the relief work has helped increase Andrés’s
visibility. Hundreds of articles have been written about the chef’s efforts
in Puerto Rico alone, and he has become a frequent source for journalists
looking into government aid efforts on the island. But, he says, none of
this is commercially motivated, any more than his volunteer work in the
soup kitchens in New York and D.C. was. “Sometimes,” he says, “you have
intends to use it.