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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.
This lovely, energizing story from Michelin-starred chef Andr s and his frequent cookbook coauthor Wolffe (Made in Spain) provides an antidote to passivity and cynicism. Having done food relief work in Haiti in 2010, Andr s was ready to help feed the people of Puerto Rico after the island was ravaged by Hurricane Maria seven year later. Andr s tells how his nonprofit organization thrived despite the fumbling incompetence of government agencies and nonprofits and an American president who "seemed to have no idea what his role was." In a matter of days, Andr s and his volunteers had expanded an operation run by his friend Jose Enrique, a San Juan chef, making sandwiches, paellas, and stew (Andres has contempt for the idea that disaster victims deserve only lousy food). In between fighting with red tape tangled FEMA officials and dealing with the Red Cross's lack of organization, Andres quickly scaled up an operation with 20,000 volunteers that produced three million meals. "We solved the problems as they popped up," Andres writes, "as chefs do." This is a powerful story of the impact a well-meaning group can have on the world.