Instead of talking about “minimum wage," Chef Andrés believes we should ask what "the right wage” is.

By Mike Pomranz
June 07, 2021

Few celebrity chefs have used their position for good like José Andrés. Founded in 2010, his charity World Central Kitchen has responded to disasters around the globe, from California to Iowa, from Australia to Beirut. And many times, Andrés himself is on the ground putting in work.

Concurrently, Andrés continues to advocate for those in need. Not only those dealing with disasters like fires and floods, but people facing everyday struggles like putting food on the table. And many of these people are in Andrés' own industry: the restaurant business.

Jose Andres
Credit: Patrick McMullan / Getty Images

Chef Andrés recently sat down with the website Nation's Restaurant News for an eight-minute conversation on the importance of paying food-industry workers what Andrés referred to as "the right wage."

"I believe that the minimum wage, once and for all, all across the country, should be increased. We cannot be having the people that feed America not being able to feed themselves. I keep repeating that," Andrés said. "And probably, the minimum wage is not even the right name. It should be 'the right wage.' What is the right wage for men and women working in the restaurant industry to be able to live a good life in America, without having to go to a soup kitchen, without having to go through food stamps to make to make ends meet at the end of the month?"

Chef Andrés also pointed to how the pandemic has exposed additional frailty in the restaurant industry. "COVID-19 has shown us that we need to become stronger in our business model," he stated. "I think we've learned that profits cannot be used only at the bottom but also profits of your community where the restaurants are in."

Later, Andrés elaborated, "We need to make sure that the entire chain-from the producer, all the way to the last person that makes sure that one guest has a good experience in a restaurant-that everybody is taken care of and everybody can make it on their own."

You can watch to the entire interview on YouTube.