Daily Distraction: GQ goes 'Cooking on the Frontlines' with chef José Andrés

Read up on how the acclaimed chef balances a growing restaurant empire with his relentless charitable work

Andy Downing
Columbus Alive
World Central Kitchen founder Chef Jose Andres on the ground helping to provide fresh and comforting meals to families at border crossings, reception centers, shelters, and other locations along their journey.

Chef José Andrés has become a regular sight at scenes of disaster worldwide with his charitable organization World Central Kitchen (WCK), which marshals local chefs and kitchens to help feed folks during all manner of crises. In recent years, Andrés and WCK have fed citizens and first responders in places ranging from the 2010 earthquake in Haiti to the insurrection of January 6.

“The way I see it, right now with World Central Kitchen I have the biggest, most powerful network of hardware in the history of mankind,” Andrés told writer Brett Martin in a new GQ profile, which you can read here. “Because, in my eyes, every kitchen is already ours. And every car. And every boat. And every helicopter. Every cook is part of our army, even if they don’t know it yet. I don’t say that openly, because people will think I’m crazy. It’s just the way I see it: We are the biggest organization in the history of mankind. Even if we only have 75 people on payroll.”

It's not idle chatter, either. Since 2010, WCK has served more than 70 million meals and evolved into a fundraising juggernaut, pulling in more than $220 million in 2020, with even larger aims for the future. 

But while widespread praise has been (rightfully) directed toward Andrés, the profile paints a more complex portrait of a man working to balance home life and a growing restaurant empire with this incredible drive to feed those in need.

“I want to end hunger in India. I want to end hunger in Africa. And I’m bold enough and crazy enough to think I can do it,” Andrés said. “But then you say: I still have a daughter who needs me near her. And I need her too. And my wife needs me and my partners need me. And everything’s on here.” He pats his shoulders. “Everything’s on here.”

Read the full profile here.