José Andrés: How a team of chefs fed Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria
José Andrés is a committed advocate of food and hunger issues and is known for championing the role of chefs in the national debate on food policy. Full bio
Double-click the English transcript below to play the video.
for the worst TED Talk ever.
I love to be here with you all,
not to tell my story
of the amazing people of Puerto Rico
to feed the people of Puerto Rico.
and you know I love to feed the few,
after an earthquake in Haiti
that want to join you
that only help me to be better.
and this is what we found.
one more hurricane,
in the island was gone.
you moved away from San Juan.
trying to use our cell phones.
was that the island was hungry,
because ATMs were not working,
for food stamps,
in their supermarkets,
or clean water to cook.
to get into a meeting at FEMA,
NGO partners were having a conversation
in the weeks to come,
in this minute, in this second,
that needed to be fed.
industry actually was ready
even to be aware of that.
men in the whole world,
calling all the chefs of Puerto Rico,
"Let's not plan, let's not meet,
of Puerto Rico, on a Monday.
sancocho, an amazing stew
didn't only use the restaurant,
operation, and refrigerators,
to find a place to help,
the nurses and the doctors,
hospital was calling us.
our 24/7 employees
and the elderly and the people in need."
We were receiving orders.
that we were able to be stabilizing
we kept serving them food, day after day,
the biggest restaurant in the world.
by the hundreds.
more than 7,000 volunteers
or more with us,
more than 700 people at once.
everybody could rally behind:
that people could recognize,
and you cannot even smell.
that people feel home.
this urgency of feeling they are alive,
used to bring calories to their bodies,
that you and you and you and you,
that we are with you.
we began joining the communities.
municipalities all across the island.
was not going to feed the island.
with eight armored guards and AK-47s.
around the island."
we reached our 18th kitchen
to deliver the food, people would tell me.
was the perfect delivery system.
was for us the way to be bringing hope
to do these food trucks,
the place that needed the food,
that was surrounded by water.
will never, ever again feel alone
the bridges were broken,
to stay in San Juan.
that actually, they really needed us.
and people kept waiting for us,
that we will always show up,
two islands far away from the island --
a hotel kitchen operation in Vieques
water purification system
one gallon per minute.
become very simple,
and meeting in a very big building.
we paid, and we got.
that really were in need.
to the edges of the island.
with songs, with claps, with hearts,
in so many corners.
the National Guard began calling us
humble plate of hot food.
didn't happen calling the top.
in the middle of the street,
we can even reach more people.
is put to the service of the people.
how to give aid a month from now.
the private sector --
were being opened,
today in Puerto Rico, was happening.
away from the places
that really need help.
two million meals!
let me translate this to you.
you should be proud,
you are part of the change.
if after we leave this amazing conference,
and inspiration that we get,
to the service of those in need.
trying to feed a few people,
of Puerto Rico saw the same problem as me,
in a moment of disrepair,
and let's start feeding
would be interested to hear.
This is how good my talk was.
in the history of TED.
what were some of the challenges,
they started coming to you to ask you.
from Red Cross or Salvation Army.
to those organizations,
that we're expecting too much from them.
what they were supposed to do.
is that that's what they do.
a moment like this and wash your hands,
is going to be picking it up.
that had a very simple solution.
and people willing to help,
how to feed them in the short term.
about how to feed the people.
the biggest food organization in America,
called to Puerto Rico.
food in America after a hurricane,
for 420 meals on a Wednesday rainy night
who are supposed to be helping us
is when I wake up super worried
the plan to feed the island.
maybe you are making the problem
and hundreds and hundreds of organizations
asking for a tray of food,
that the need was real ...
in America anymore with MREs
a little bit of those same foods --
the chicken and rice we made,
for a day or two or five,
20 dollars to the American taxpayer.
for weeks and weeks and weeks,
the local private business community
creating local jobs,
that everything was going to go back
dollar we had in our credit cards.
a discount would be appreciated.
some improvements in San Juan
major challenges, and what's next?
is we slowly began going down
everything under control
60,000 meals a day,
but more strategically located,
20-25,000 meals a day,
four, five, six kitchens
in the poor areas.
who is using food stamps,
and we know who is using them.
where nobody is using them,
we are going to be focusing our efforts.
simple data can give you a clue
in the history of mankind.
We were bringing sandwiches.
these Homeland Security officers.
in this other place called San Lorenzo.
because the bridge was broken,
"It's a disaster down there."
sandwiches is not enough.
were very thankful, but they told us,
around us that are in more need."
relying on fake news
that we can make smart decisions
and to play a small role --
you were up to about 150,000 meals
really sort of setting a model
hopefully, moving forward.
of the big learnings out of this --
You know, people can replicate this.
to watch TED Talks,
that anything can happen.
to cook a thousand meals a day.
and I began calling people,
that could help us.
a company called Bon Appétit, Fedele.
the big catering companies.
that can do volume
I began getting people and chefs.
that America can offer.
is an amazing heart country
are going to be playing a role
and maybe other parts of the world
where the expertise is needed.
like with FEMA,
in the areas that it's not even needed.
pyramidal organizational chart
out of their own weight.
people to be successful.
a flatter organizational chart
to solve the problems on the spot.
ABOUT THE SPEAKERJosé Andrés - Chef, humanitarian
José Andrés is a committed advocate of food and hunger issues and is known for championing the role of chefs in the national debate on food policy.
Why you should listen
Named one of TIME's "100 Most Influential People," awarded "Outstanding Chef" and "Humanitarian of the Year" by the James Beard Foundation, José Andrés is an internationally-recognized culinary innovator, author, educator, television personality, humanitarian and chef/owner of ThinkFoodGroup. A pioneer of Spanish tapas in the United States, he is also known for his groundbreaking avant-garde cuisine and his award-winning group of 28 restaurants plus a food truck located throughout the country and in Mexico City. Andrés is the only chef globally that has both a two-star Michelin restaurant and four Bib Gourmands. His award-winning restaurants include two Michelin starred minibar by José Andrés, Jaleo, Zaytinya, J by José Andrés at W Mexico City, Bazaar Meat at SLS Las Vegas, the Bazaar by José Andrés at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills and South Beach, and Beefsteak, his vegetable-driven fast-casual concept. Andrés is a committed advocate of food and hunger issues and is known for championing the role of chefs in the national debate on food policy. In 2012, he formed World Central Kitchen, a non-profit that provides smart solutions to hunger and poverty by using the power of food to empower communities and strengthen economies. Together with World Central Kitchen and #ChefsforPuertoRico, Andrés served more than 3.3 million meals in Puerto Rico following the devastation of Hurricane Maria in 2017, reaching communities in need across all 78 municipalities through 23 kitchens.
Andrés's work has earned awards and distinctions including the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award from International Association of Culinary Professionals and the 2015 National Humanities Medal, one of twelve distinguished recipients of the award from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Andrés was also named EY Master Entrepreneur of the Year in Greater Washington for his leadership and impact on the global business community and was also awarded the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s Chair’s Medallion Award.
José Andrés | Speaker | TED.com