José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen Named One of the Most Innovative Companies in Food
Fast Company announced their 2018 global ranking.
On Tuesday, tech and leadership media outlet Fast Company announced its global ranking of Most Innovative Companies for 2018, recognizing over 360 companies across 36 sectors. A total of ten companies and non-profits were recognized in the food category, with World Central Kitchen (WCK) coming in at second.
Helmed by Michelin-starred, Spanish-origin chef José Andrés, the non-profit has gotten enormous press in the past year for being a first responder in the wake of Houston’s Hurricane Harvey, Puerto Rico’s Hurricane Maria and Southern California’s wildfires. It’s probably in Puerto Rico that Andrés showed the real (and supremely impressive) capacity of WCK. Arriving just five days after the hurricane hit, Andres quickly built a network of restaurants, food suppliers and volunteers to serve 10,000 meals a day: it was called the biggest restaurant in the world. After carrying out operations on the island for less than three months, WCK had served a whopping three million meals by November 27—each one documented.
At one point Andrés even signed a contract with FEMA, the federal emergency response agency, to fund his meal giving there. Otherwise, however, WCK’s on-the-ground operations cost $400,000 a day, as reported by the New York Times. These funds were covered by individual donations—mobilized with the #ChefsForPuertoRico Twitter movement, drummed up by celebs like Gloria Estefan and Puerto Rico-born Ricky Martin—as well as two federal contracts.
As seen on his Twitter, the chef is back in Puerto Rico right now, where WCK is continuing to deliver food to schools. He’s alluded that he might write a book on his experience there.
Other companies recognized on Fast Company’s list included Compass Group, which somehow beat WCK to clinch first place. The British company is the largest food service provider in the world, with a presence in over 50 countries. Given its size, its choices to partner with the Global Animal Partnership, which encourages humanely raised meat, and to feature Impossible Burger and Hampton Creek mayo (both vegan), has had widespread results.
Other companies on the list include yogurt brand Chobani, which has been funding young food entrepreneurs, and Safe Catch Foods, a Bay Area brand that uses mobile technology to ensure low mercury levels in tuna.