DC chef Jose Andres feeds millions in hurricane-stricken Puerto Rico

D.C. celebrity chef Jose Andres has helped provide more than 3 million hot meals to hurricane Maria survivors in Puerto Rico. (Courtesy YouTube)
D.C. celebrity chef Jose Andres has helped provide more than 3 million hot meals to hurricane Maria survivors in Puerto Rico. (Courtesy YouTube) (Courtesy YouTube)
Chef Jose Andres is known for his Jaleo tapas restaurants in Washington D.C., Las Vegas and elsewhere. (AP Photo/Beth J. Harpaz)
Chef Jose Andres is known for his Jaleo tapas restaurants in D.C., Las Vegas and elsewhere. (AP Photo/Beth J. Harpaz) (AP/Beth J. Harpaz)
Actor and composer of Puerto Rican descent Lin Manuel Miranda distributes food to victims of Hurricane Maria in La Placita de Güisin, in Vega Alta, Puerto Rico, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti)
Actor and composer of Puerto Rican descent Lin Manuel Miranda distributes food to victims of Hurricane Maria in La Placita de Güisin, in Vega Alta, Puerto Rico, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti) (AP/Carlos Giusti)
FILE - In this Oct. 17, 2017 file photo, a boy accompanied by his dog watches the repairs of Guajataca Dam, which cracked during the passage of Hurricane Maria, in Quebradillas, Puerto Rico. Experts said on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017, that Puerto Rico could face nearly two decades of further economic stagnation and a steep drop in population as a result of Maria. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa, File)
In this Oct. 17, 2017 file photo, a boy accompanied by his dog watches the repairs of Guajataca Dam, which cracked during the passage of Hurricane Maria, in Quebradillas, Puerto Rico. Experts said on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017, that Puerto Rico could face nearly two decades of further economic stagnation and a steep drop in population as a result of Maria. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa, File) (AP/Ramon Espinosa)
FILE - This Sept. 20, 2017 file photo shows smashed poles and snarled power lines brought down by Hurricane Maria, in Humacao, Puerto Rico. Officials warned Maria would decimate the power company's crumbling infrastructure and force the government to rebuild dozens of communities. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti, File)
This Sept. 20, 2017 file photo shows smashed poles and snarled power lines brought down by Hurricane Maria, in Humacao, Puerto Rico. Officials warned Maria would decimate the power company’s crumbling infrastructure and force the government to rebuild dozens of communities. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti, File) (AP/Carlos Giusti)
FILE - In this Sept. 28, 2017, file photo, debris scatters a destroyed community in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Toa Alta, Puerto Rico. Still recovering from Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico is getting a helping hand from an unlikely source, Moe from “The Simpsons.” The bartender from the animated comedy in a new YouTube video is seen fundraising after getting a warm message by San Juan mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)
In this Sept. 28, 2017, file photo, debris scatters a destroyed community in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Toa Alta, Puerto Rico. Still recovering from Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico is getting a helping hand from an unlikely source, Moe from “The Simpsons.” The bartender from the animated comedy in a new YouTube video is seen fundraising after getting a warm message by San Juan mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File) (AP/Gerald Herbert)
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D.C. celebrity chef Jose Andres has helped provide more than 3 million hot meals to hurricane Maria survivors in Puerto Rico. (Courtesy YouTube)
Chef Jose Andres is known for his Jaleo tapas restaurants in Washington D.C., Las Vegas and elsewhere. (AP Photo/Beth J. Harpaz)
Actor and composer of Puerto Rican descent Lin Manuel Miranda distributes food to victims of Hurricane Maria in La Placita de Güisin, in Vega Alta, Puerto Rico, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti)
FILE - In this Oct. 17, 2017 file photo, a boy accompanied by his dog watches the repairs of Guajataca Dam, which cracked during the passage of Hurricane Maria, in Quebradillas, Puerto Rico. Experts said on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017, that Puerto Rico could face nearly two decades of further economic stagnation and a steep drop in population as a result of Maria. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa, File)
FILE - This Sept. 20, 2017 file photo shows smashed poles and snarled power lines brought down by Hurricane Maria, in Humacao, Puerto Rico. Officials warned Maria would decimate the power company's crumbling infrastructure and force the government to rebuild dozens of communities. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 28, 2017, file photo, debris scatters a destroyed community in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Toa Alta, Puerto Rico. Still recovering from Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico is getting a helping hand from an unlikely source, Moe from “The Simpsons.” The bartender from the animated comedy in a new YouTube video is seen fundraising after getting a warm message by San Juan mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

WASHINGTON — Celebrity chef Jose Andres has had a lot on his plate lately, but it has nothing to do with his D.C.-area restaurants.

Andres arrived in Puerto Rico in September, five days after Hurricane Maria, to help feed victims. His non-profit World Central Kitchen has served more than 3 million warm meals and sandwiches — more than any other agency, including the Red Cross or Salvation Army.

“It’s a very simple thing when you’re a cook,” Andres told CBS’ “60 Minutes.”

“When you’re hungry, you gather the food, you gather your helpers, you begin cooking, and then you start feeding people.”

Andres developed a network of kitchens and volunteers across the island, despite the lack of electricity and other utilities.

He said Americans in Puerto Rico should be receiving a plate of hot food, even in the wake of a disaster, rather than bagged military field rations, known as Meals Ready to Eat or MRE.

“That’s not too much to ask, in America,” Andres said. “MREs are very expensive for the American taxpayer — a hot meal is cheaper, what people really need and want, and they feel that you are caring for them.”

Andres said he was frustrated by the red tape surrounding dealings with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. His group received two short term contracts, worth $11 million, but were denied a longer-term contract.

“Emergency in food means one thing. People are hungry. And when you’re hungry, it’s today,” Andres said.

With hungry survivors in Puerto Rico, Andres said his group focused on feeding people, rather than strategizing.

“We didn’t plan, we didn’t meet, we began cooking and began delivering food to the people in need in Puerto Rico,” said Andres. “We need to make sure that next time, we are not negotiating contracts, and the federal government is ready to do what they’re supposed to do, next time something like this happens.”


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