Nobel Peace Prize nominee José Andrés flavors the world one plate at a time


Ilustración hecho por Ayomi Wolff

Jose Andres comparte su viaje para convertirse en un cocinero mundialmente famoso y fundador de su propia organización sin fines de lucro. Llegó a los Estados Unidos con pocos recursos, pero ahora orienta 31 restaurantes.

Michaela Bauman

When José Andrés first moved to New York City, all he had was his knives and $50. He’s now one of DC’s biggest restaurateurs, running 31 restaurants including Jaleo, Oyamel, Zaytinya, and Tenleytown’s popular Beefsteak.

Andrés is well-known around the world for his inventive cooking and dedication to feeding people in need. The Beacon had the opportunity to correspond with Andrés while he was in Florida helping with Hurricane Michael recovery.

Born in Spain, Andrés grew up surrounded by delicious food and knew from a young age that he wanted to be a chef. He attended the School of Restaurants and Hotels of Barcelona and had the opportunity to gain experience working in Michelin-starred restaurants.

After moving to the United States, Andrés worked as a chef in New York City until he received a phone call that changed his life: “A new Spanish restaurant opened in Penn Quarter called Jaleo, and the two business partners, Rob Wilder and Roberto Álvarez, wanted me to cook there,” Andrés said.

He now uses his fame as a platform to help others. In 2010, Andrés founded World Central Kitchen with the mission to fight hunger and poverty. After Hurricane Maria, Andrés traveled to Puerto Rico with his organization and made more than 3.6 million meals. He was moved by the people’s compassion for each other in the midst of tragedy.

“I met many inspiring people—children who served meals to hungry people and insisted that everyone ate before them, elderly people who shared their small water supplies with their neighbors, a pastor who brought his community to cook with our team,” Andrés said. Since this interview was conducted, Andrés was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and has also expanded his efforts to feed migrants at the southern border. “For me, immigrants are the backbone of the United States… we are the ones who cook, clean houses, pick fruits and vegetables. Without immigrants, this country would really stop working. The president’s policies do not make the United States great, they actively work against the future of the country,” Andrés said.

The next time you go to Jaleo, be sure to try ‘Arroz a la Cubana,’ Andrés’ favorite dish, made of tomato sauce, fried egg, banana and, sometimes, ham or bacon.