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The chef followed through on a similar offer during the 2013 shutdown.

Mike Pomranz
December 21, 2018

If you’re looking for the latest update on the looming potential of a government shutdown, as our name implies, Food & Wine probably isn’t your best source. But if the government does happen to shutdown later today, we can definitely tell you where temporarily unemployed federal employees can get a bite to eat: any José Andrés restaurant in Washington, D.C.

Earlier today, in a response to President Trump’s prediction on Twitter of “a shutdown that will last for a very long time,” celebrity chef and increasingly prominent humanitarian (who was even nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize) José Andrés tweeted, “And I will offer again Free Sandwiches to the poor men and women of the federal government, republicans and democrats, at every restaurant of mine in DC for lunch until they get paid again!”

Andrés used the term “again” because he offered a similar deal to furloughed federal workers during the 2013 government shutdown that last 16 days.

As we recapped just yesterday, José Andrés and his nonprofit organization World Central Kitchen had an extremely busy year, serving “over 2 million meals this year between our multiple responses in California, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Guatemala, Indonesia, North Carolina, Florida, and Mexico,” according to a representative for the group. Though most of those efforts were in response to natural disasters, being put on indefinite leave right before the Christmas holiday can certainly be seen as a disaster for the affected federal workers and their families.

Meanwhile, offering meals during this particular shutdown will probably have special meaning for Andrés as he has been an outspoken critic against Trump throughout his presidency. In fact, since making his free sandwich offer on Twitter, Andrés followed up with three other responses to the president with criticisms such as “Every civilization [built] behind walls is long gone” and “If you want to play Risk, I have one extra game at home....” Needless to say, Trump himself will probably not be looking to take Andrés up on his free sandwich offer.

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