Chef José Andrés is at it again.
Time and time again, following one disaster after another, Andrés has been there to calm frayed nerves and offer both answers and food for hungry people. In 2010, following the massive earthquakes in Haiti, Andrés founded World Food Day and the World Central Kitchen, a coalition of chefs to assist in relief efforts to places in need.
In 2017, he hit the ground running in Puerto Rico following several hurricanes that devastated the islands, setting up mobile kitchens and not only fed everyone he could but also staying on to ensure the island’s food production could continue.
And now, he’s doing the work to ensure people can continue to eat during the coronavirus global pandemic.
On Sunday, Andrés announced on Twitter, all of his restaurants in the Washington D.C. area are now closed until further notice. (A spokesperson for Andrés reached out to Travel + Leisure to say that Beefsteak in Dupont Circle and George Washington University will be open for online orders.) However, he added, some of his spaces are being transformed into Community Kitchens to offer food for purchase.
“All my restaurants in DC area are closed until further notice. Here at @ThinkFoodGroup safety of employees & guests is [top] priority,” he said. “Some restaurants will transform into Community Kitchens to offer to-go lunches for those who need a meal.”
The restaurants shutting down include America Eats Tavern, Zaytinya, and Oyamel. According to The Washingtonian, the shutdown also includes the three locations of Jaleo.
In subsequent tweets, he added, the kitchens will work as part of the World Central Kitchen. This, he said, was “not for enjoyment” but rather a “service for people in need of a plate of food during this emergency.”
Andrés called upon his fellow chefs to join him in this movement, stating, “We are in an unprecedented emergency...and as painful as it is, ALL restaurants, bars, etc. must be closed across America if we are to avoid what’s happening in other countries,” he said. “This is the only way.”
And, as a message to us all, Andrés poignantly reminded everyone, “in this moment, loving each other means staying away from each other. This is about We The People. Each of us has a responsibility to act for others, not just ourselves.”
He added, “We are all together in this fight...and we will win.”
If you are in need of food the restaurants will be open with for-purchase meals from noon to 5 p.m. daily and operate out of their side doors. And, if you can help, head over to World Central Kitchen to donate what you can.