Chef Joseࠥ Andreࠥs is setting up pop up kitchens around Ukrain to make sure that in the middle of war, at least there is a warm meal of comfort to those everyone that needs
Spanish born, Andreࠥs has made a name for himself over the years, both as a well respected michelin star chef and humanitarian. In 2003, he was named the Best Chef by the James Beard Foundation. In 2010 he established World Central Kitchen with a mission to “feed the many” by getting food on the ground in wake of emergencies of any kind in areas all around the globe. He holds two Michelin stars, yet serving fancy ‘small plates’ in which he had a huge influence in bringing to the American dining experience, isn’t his main focus now.
Right now as you read this article, Chef is in Kyiv, Ukraine, a city that is currently suffering to withstand the constant advancement of Russian troops.
The unprovoked war began on February 24th, and within three weeks, World Central Kitchen (WCK) has partnered up with local hospitality and got the pots boiling in 5 different neighbouring countries, the largest so far is only 8 kms from the border in Prezemysࠥl, Poland which can cook a whopping 100,000 meals per day.
Finoa Donovan, the non profits relief operations manager told the Insider, “When we saw this happening on the news, there was no question. We all hopped on a plane immediately and came here to do what we do best,”
The United Nations claim that more than 3 million Ukrainians have been able to flee their country so far, many seeking comfort in their neighbours such as Romania, moldova, and Hungary, however with more than 2 thirds taking up residence in Poland, no matter how wide their arms are willing to stretch open, it’s an unsustainable strain on their own countries resources.
WCK has teams posted at all eight Ukraine – Poland border crossings making hot meals, fresh fruit, tea, coffee and hot chocolate available and free of charge, 24 hours a day. Locals have been hired to serve as translators, delivery drivers and section managers as well as hundreds of volunteers devoting their time to serve food and reassurance.
“Offering hot food with a smile, showing people we’re thinking of them and that we’re here to help how we can is really important to our mission and how we always aim to operate,” Donovan said. “We’re offering more than just calories and sustenance but a delicious, chef-prepared tasty meal that people are going to enjoy sharing during such a difficult time.
Often in a disaster situation the event happens and then it’s over,” She continued to explain that the group was usually on the ground after such an event has already ended such as the massive earthquakes that re-arranged Haiti in 2010, Hurricane Maria that devastated Puerto Rico in 2017 or after wildfires let’s say. She added: “But this is an ongoing crisis. Things change every day.”
Chef Andres is an inspiration to all in hospitality, bringing back the reality of the industry, which is to nourish those who need it. He isn’t hiding behind a camera or everybody working for him, he is by their side, amongst the conflict, distributing food, cooking the food and meeting humbly with the people.
His social media gives moment by moment updates on the iron spirit of ukrainians, serving hot soup at the top of subway stations where thousands now call home. He shows us behind the scenes footage of the ferocity at which they are trying to feed adults children and babies, partnering with formula firms to get milk for the little ones. “From flour to cereal we will make sure that nothing gets missed.
Huge respect my friend, you bring nobility to the highest ranking amongst chefs around the world, and breathe an abundance of faith to the folks you are on the ground with, and those watching from afar.