World Central Kitchen, led by José Andrés, helps developing countries in crisis. By building kitchens and cooking for hungry people using ingredients purchased from local stores, the organization aims to empower communities to create their own long-term solutions. It also promotes environmentally sustainable cooking technologies, including cookstoves that use solar energy. worldcentralkitchen.org.
On Starting World Central Kitchen “When the earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, I was on vacation in the Cayman Islands. My children were playing on the beach; I was enjoying the sun with my wife, having a margarita. When I heard about what was going on in Haiti, not so far away, that was the true moment when I said, ‘I’m a chef, I could be helping.’ ”
On the Benefits of Solar-Powered Cookstoves “When mothers and daughters use our cookstoves, they aren’t inhaling harmful fumes. And because our cookstoves don’t use wood, we know the little girls aren’t working all the time to collect fuel, so maybe they can have the opportunity to go to school.”
Lesson From a Mentor “Let me tell you a story about when I was growing up in Spain. Many Sundays, we would invite 30, 40, 50 people to the countryside, and my father would make a big paella. He put me in charge of the fire and the ‘stove’—the rocks that hold the pan. But he wouldn’t let me cook. I got so unbelievably upset. Then my father said, ‘My son, what are you feeling bad about? Taking care of the fire and the stove, that is the most important thing.’ ”
The Need for R&D “IBM has research and development; so do Microsoft and Nike and even José Andrés. But there hasn’t been enough R&D on feeding people in the Third World. This has to be part of the process; if not, we’ll keep throwing money at the problem instead of investing in true solutions.”
His Recipes for F&W “This is the kind of simple, humble food I have at home with my family on Friday nights.”