As I read this book, a line from the cartoon movie Robots kept coming to mind: "See a need, fill a need." Chef Andrés flew to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria to help feed residents for a few days. He ended up staying for weeks and eventually coordinated over two million meals across the island. We Fed an Island is an uplifting tale of community action. Andrés wears his heart on his sleeve, and his tenacity and compassion in the face of great devastation are incredibly inspiring. Recommended By Lesley A., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
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.
“We know personally of the incredible commitment, ingenuity, and solutions that José brings to our world and the impact this book can have in actually making changes and improving the way we deal with natural disasters. We feel privileged to call him our friend.” Gloria and Emilio Estefan
“When disaster hit Puerto Rico, José Andrés didn’t wait... His big heart and boundless energy could not be restrained by red tape. People were hungry, and José is a chef. Chefs feed people... He is a leader, an innovator, and a true hero.” Anthony Bourdain
“In the days and weeks after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, José Andrés seemed to always be in constant motion... but it’s only in the pages of this book that the scale of their contribution becomes clear. What an amazing story!” Anderson Cooper
“This lovely, energizing story from Michelin-starred chef Andrés and his frequent cookbook coauthor Wolffe (Made in Spain) provides an antidote to passivity and cynicism... [A] powerful story of the impact a well-meaning group can have on the world.” Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
“José Andrés’s work to build a massive relief operation from the ground up after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico was nothing short of miraculous — and a powerful reminder that we all have a responsibility to do what we can to help one another in times of need.” President Bill Clinton
“...The author’s passion to help people is palpable... His actions should be the basis for future work by FEMA and other humanitarian agencies... A passionate and courageous story that should be required reading for anyone involved in disaster response.” Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
About the Author
José Andrés is a Michelin-starred, James Beard Award–winning chef, and was named among Time’s “100 Most Influential People.” He is the founder and chairman of World Central Kitchen, the NGO behind #ChefsForPuertoRico, and cofounder of ThinkFoodGroup, which has more than thirty restaurants around the world. He is also the author of three cookbooks and the New York Times best-selling We Fed an Island, which describes how Andrés and his team cooked for hundreds of thousands of hungry Americans in Puerto Rico after the devastation of Hurricane Maria.