Chef Jose Andres Is In Puerto Rico Cooking Meals for Thousands of Hurricane Maria Victims
José Andrés, the Spanish-American chef who became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2013, flew to Puerto Rico on Monday to help deliver thousands of meals to residents in need of support after Hurricane Maria.
Many residents of the U.S. territory are still without clean water, food and electricity in the days following the storm. Since Andrés landed, he and his volunteers have been able to deliver some 8,000 meals a day to those in need. Footage posted to the chef’s Twitter account on Saturday shows sandwiches, paella and other meals being made by his crew from World Central Kitchen.
While they have been wildly successful in aiding residents, Andrés admits they have hit some difficulties.
“Today’s a hard day,” Andrés said in a video posted to his Twitter account on Thursday. “We’ve been getting deliveries, but we’ve been missing a few things. When we have bread, we don’t have cheese… But more or less, things keep falling into place.”
According to the Washington Post, Andrés joined with chef José Enrique, who turned his restaurant in San Juan into one of two headquarters for the operation. Since then, volunteers have used to hashtag #chefsforPuertoRico to organize and communicate as they send meals to neighborhoods and hospitals.
The chef’s call to action comes in stark contrast to President Donald Trump, who has been criticized for not doing enough to aid the island, home to 3.5 million Americans. The outspoken Andrés — who made headlines in February when he opened his chef’s coat to reveal a shirt that read “I am an immigrant” at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival — even tweeted some advice to the president concerning relief strategy for Puerto Rico.
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Andrés told the Post that he would like to expand his efforts to the Puerto Rican island of Vieques, which, as PEOPLE reported, is completely devastated in Maria’s aftermath and is likely not to receive aid until Puerto Rico does. Even if Andrés isn’t able to reach everyone affected by the storm, his presence on social media is playing a major part in raising awareness about the needs of the island — and people are noticing.
“Super chef,” wrote Twitter user Michael Ferrara. “Now super hero!”