José Andrés' Portrait Is Going into the Smithsonian
As one of the city's top restauranteurs, José Andrés is already a recognizable figure around Washington, D.C. But soon, he'll be a constant presence inside the Smithsonian as well: The Spanish-born chef has been named among the 2022 Portrait of a Nation honorees.
Established in 1962, the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery is intended to display "poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists whose lives tell the nation's story." Since 2015, that has included a steady influx of new portraits through the Portrait of a Nation Award which aims to recognize "extraordinary individuals who have made transformative contributions to the United States and its people across numerous fields of endeavor, ranging from the arts and sciences to sports and humanitarianism."
Yesterday, seven new inductees were announced including music legend Clive Davis, filmmaker Ava DuVernay, children's rights activist Marian Wright Edelman, presidential medical advisor Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, and the legendary tennis players Serena and Venus Williams.
But to the food world, José Andrés is the honoree with the most clout. The Smithsonian described him as an "internationally recognized humanitarian, culinary innovator, New York Times bestselling author, educator, and founder of World Central Kitchen." And if there was any doubt that Andrés deserved such an honor, he's certainly been working overtime over the course of the pandemic — supporting healthcare workers, finding work for struggling restaurants, and encouraging people to get vaccinated, all while continuing World Central Kitchen's disaster relief efforts abroad, launching a media company, and, oh yeah, still opening restaurants.
"The Portrait of a Nation Award is an expression of gratitude for the leaders in our country who have made a difference and continue to advocate for a better future," Kim Sajet, the gallery's director, stated. "These honorees are innovators in their respective disciplines and advocates for social causes who use their voices to care for and lift up others. The Portrait of a Nation Award reminds us that history is living and the choices people make have an impact on the nation's legacy."
If you want to see the José Andrés portrait, as well as the portraits of all of the new honorees, you'll have to wait until later this year: They'll be displayed as part of the museum's "Recent Acquisitions" exhibition from November 10, 2022 to October 22, 2023.