As Rach puts it, Chef José Andrés has three families: his family at home, his work family (all of the people who work in his restaurants) and his global family that he's trying to serve with his rapidly growing charity organization, World Central Kitchen.
World Central Kitchen is known for setting up field kitchens to feed millions of people fresh meals at the scene of natural disasters — and the need is as fierce as ever amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
"These days, I have to [do] three things at the same time," Chef José tells Rach. "Provide for my family and make sure they're safe and protected — and they are. [Help] some neighbors, people we know who may need some help."
As for his restaurants around the country, Chef José says he closed them rather quickly in response to the pandemic — but he turned them into outdoor community kitchens, with stickers on the ground helping people maintain a six-feet distance from each other and online orders for takeout or delivery.
"Watching Wuhan, I knew our cities were going to be shut down," he tells Rach. "I tried to think ahead. The restaurants became community kitchens to feed anybody that needed a meal — a nurse coming back home, an elderly person that has nobody helping her, a person with immune system problems."
"I've been very lucky that for almost five to six weeks," the chef goes on, "we've been able to take care of the 1,600 employees of the restaurants with full salary and benefits." Amazing!
"This is how I spend [my] days," the James Beard Foundation award-winning chef explains. "[I try] to give back a little bit [to each one of my three families], because every one of them gives me so much."
As for his third family, the chef tells us that World Central Kitchen has been working with over 500 restaurants to bring food to those who need it most during the coronavirus pandemic.
The non-profit organization has now reached 4.2 million meals served in response to the pandemic and is currently serving over 200,000 meals per day. (Can you believe how much it's grown since Rach talked to José?!)
"The restaurants are part of the solution and are able to hire people who want to help and want to work," Chef José explains. "And then we are all a part of the solution."
"And then in a few months from now, when everything goes back to normal," he continues, "we will look back and we will say that in one of the darkest moments of America, America as a whole came together, and everybody did their part."
"I feel that people are finding their core and their humanity more," Rach adds. "Because they do have to tolerate each other, and they are feeding each other, and they are comforting each other. And I hope that when we come out of this, we are better human beings." ❤️