The World Central Kitchen initiative would reopen more than 400 restaurants to serve meals to communities in need.

By Maria Yagoda
April 17, 2020
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Chef José Andrés' nonprofit World Central Kitchen is continuing to fight on the frontlines of the coronavirus crisis. In a new interview with the Washington Post, Andrés said that WCK's Chefs for America is launching a new initiative that will pay restaurants to reopen and serve meals to people in need, while also letting laid-off employees get back to work.

According to the article, the nonprofit will pay restaurant owners $10 to $20 per meal, allowing them to rehire staff and pay for ingredients. "This is only a drop in the water," Andrés told the Post.

Credit: Sean Zanni / Getty Images

Earlier this month, the chef and humanitarian announced that once his restaurants reopened, doctors and nurses would eat for free for the rest of the year. In the meantime, he's turned many of his New York and D.C. restaurants into relief kitchens. WCK has opened sites around the country that are offering free meals to healthcare workers, laid-off hospitality workers, and low-income communities.

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Nate Mook, chief executive of WCK, told the Post, “The only thing that’s really going to save the system is the system going back to work. The restaurants going back to work. The staff going back, getting a paycheck. The restaurants buying from the suppliers that are also impacted by this. You got to get the whole machine going again because you can’t just have these Band-Aid solutions.”

This week, Andrés announced that a documentary about WCK and his hunger relief efforts is currently in production. Directed by Ron Howard for National Geographic Documentary Films, the doc will “follow Andres and his team around the globe as they address the increasing environmental and humanitarian crises that devastate our world the best way they know how: through food.”