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José Andrés and the NGO World Central Kitchen

Princess of Asturias Award for Concord 2021

Having become one of the most recognized chefs in the world and after having travelled to Haiti in 2010 to provide humanitarian aid, José Andrés founded the World Central Kitchen (WCK) in 2012, an NGO via which he carries out various cooperation projects with the kitchen as the core element. José Andrés and the WCK workers use their experience in the world of gastronomy to develop exemplary forms of humanitarian action, with a view to helping the most disadvantaged in the most extreme situations, as well as serving as catalysts for the group effort of actors from different fields in pursuit of a more just and sustainable society.

José Ramón Andrés Puerta

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José Ramón Andrés Puertawas born in Mieres (Asturias, Spain) on 13th July 1969. Better known as José Andrés, he was a disciple of Ferran Adrià at the end of the eighties. Since he arrived in the USA in 1991, he has managed to become a reference among this country’s chefs. Owner of more than twenty restaurants, he has participated in numerous publications and television programmes related to cuisine, thus helping to spread and popularize Spanish gastronomy. In 2020, he figured on the cover of a special issue of Time on the threat resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, in which the magazine praised his leading role in this crisis, particularly in the USA, and his contribution to the feeding of those affected. Andrés converted six of his establishments in Washington DC and New York into community kitchens, while WCK coordinated food distribution with various partners. He is an ambassador for the Clean Cooking Alliance (formerly known as the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves), led by the United Nations Foundation, and his work extends to other initiatives, such as the US Department of State’s Diplomatic Culinary Partnership and the DC Central Kitchen against hunger. He has designed courses for Harvard University and George Washington University. During Donald Trump’s term, Andrés was highly critical of the administration’s immigration policy, an issue that garnered international media coverage.

Named Outstanding American in 2014 by former US President Barack Obama, among other recognitions he has received the McCall-Pierpaoli Humanitarian Award (USA, 2014), Humanitarian of the Year from the James Beard Foundation (USA, 2018), the Julia Child Award (USA, 2019), the American Express Icon Award (Singapore, 2019), the Grand Prix for Gastronomic Culture of the International Academy of Gastronomy (France, 2020) and the Basque Culinary World Prize (Spain, 2020). He was listed among the 100 most influential people in the world in 2012 and 2018 by Time magazine.

World Central Kitchen (WCK)

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World Central Kitchen (WCK) uses the power of food to nourish communities and strengthen economies in times of crisis and beyond. Since its founding in 2010 by Chef José Andrés, WCK has created a new model for disaster response through its work helping devastated communities recover and establish resilient food systems. WCK has served more than 50 million fresh meals to people impacted by natural disasters and other crises around the world in countries including The Bahamas, Indonesia, Lebanon, Mozambique, Venezuela, and the United States. WCK’s Resilience Programs in the Caribbean and Central America have trained hundreds of chefs and school cooks, advanced clean cooking practices, and awarded grants to farms, fisheries and small food businesses while also providing training and networking opportunities. World Central Kitchen is a team of food first responders, mobilizing with the urgency of now to get meals to those who need them most.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, WCK activated thousands of restaurants and kitchens to provide over 40 million meals to marginalized and vulnerable communities and medical professionals on the front lines in over 400 cities across the United States and Spain. WCK knows that a nourishing meal in a time of crisis is so much more than a plate of food—“it's hope, it's dignity, it's a sign that someone cares about you and that you are not alone”. This year, the organization has also supported affected communities in places including Mamuju, Indonesia after the earthquake, St. Vincent and the Grenadines after the volcano eruption, the US-Mexico and Venezuela-Colombia borders, Gaza after the airstrikes, and Surfside/Miami in light of the building collapse.

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