FOREWORD BY LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA AND LUIS A. MIRANDA, JR.
The true story of how a group of chefs fed hundreds of thousands of hungry Americans after Hurricane Maria and touched the hearts of many more
Chef José Andrés arrived in Puerto Rico four days after Hurricane Maria ripped through the island. The economy was destroyed and for most people there was no clean water, no food, no power, no gas, and no way to communicate with the outside world.
Andrés addressed the humanitarian crisis the only way he knew how: by feeding people, one hot meal at a time. From serving sancocho with his friend José Enrique at Enrique’s ravaged restaurant in San Juan to eventually cooking 100,000 meals a day at more than a dozen kitchens across the island, Andrés and his team fed hundreds of thousands of people, including with massive paellas made to serve thousands of people alone.. At the same time, they also confronted a crisis with deep roots, as well as the broken and wasteful system that helps keep some of the biggest charities and NGOs in business.
Based on Andrés’s insider’s take as well as on meetings, messages, and conversations he had while in Puerto Rico, We Fed an Island movingly describes how a network of community kitchens activated real change and tells an extraordinary story of hope in the face of disasters both natural and man-made, offering suggestions for how to address a crisis like this in the future.
Beyond that, a portion of the proceeds from the book will be donated to the Chef Relief Network of World Central Kitchen for efforts in Puerto Rico and beyond.
About the Author
José Andrés is the founder and chairman of World Central Kitchen, the NGO behind #ChefsForPuertoRico, and co-founder of ThinkFoodGroup, which has more than thirty restaurants around the world. Andrés is a Michelin-starred, James Beard-winning chef, and was named among Time’s “100 Most Influential People.” He is also the author of two cookbooks.
Richard Wolffe is the co-writer of Andrés’ cookbooks and his two PBS series on regional cooking in Spain. Formerly at the Financial Times, Newsweek, and NBC News, Wolffe is a columnist for The Guardian and the New York Times-bestselling author of three books about Barack Obama.
“...The author’s passion to help people is palpable . . . His actions should be the basis for future work by FEMA and other humanitarian agencies . . . A passionate and courageous story that should be required reading for anyone involved in disaster response.”
— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“This lovely, energizing story from Michelin-starred chef Andrés and his frequent cookbook coauthor Wolffe (Made in Spain) provides an antidote to passivity and cynicism . . .[A] powerful story of the impact a well-meaning group can have on the world.”
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“José Andrés’s work to build a massive relief operation from the ground up after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico was nothing short of miraculous—and a powerful reminder that we all have a responsibility to do what we can to help one another in times of need.”
— President Bill Clinton
“In the days and weeks after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, José Andrés seemed to always be in constant motion. . . but it’s only in the pages of this book that the scale of their contribution becomes clear. What an amazing story!”
— Anderson Cooper
“When disaster hit Puerto Rico, José Andrés didn’t wait . . . His big heart and boundless energy could not be restrained by red tape. People were hungry, and José is a chef. Chefs feed people. . . He is a leader, an innovator, and a true hero.”
— Anthony Bourdain
“We know personally of the incredible commitment, ingenuity, and solutions that José brings to our world and the impact this book can have in actually making changes and improving the way we deal with natural disasters. We feel privileged to call him our friend.”
— Gloria and Emilio Estefan
“I witnessed José’s genius and generosity of spirit firsthand when I visited Puerto Rico . . . This tribute captures the integrity, passion and vigor he employs in pursuit of justice for all. A must-read for those who seek to be compassionate changemakers.”
— Laurene Powell Jobs