As Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana on Sunday, wreaking havoc on coastal communities and cutting out power in the whole of New Orleans, José Andrés and his World Central Kitchen mobilised to make sure the people have hot food as they pick up the pieces after the devastating storm.
Andrés and his team have been scaling up their humanitarian efforts recently, as Haiti recovers from a powerful earthquake and Afghan refugees land in the United States. Now WCK is in the location that saw so much devastation after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, to provide more than 100,000 meals for people in need.
Hurricane Ida, with registered wind speeds of up to 75 mph (120 kph), is only half the strength of Katrina, and has recently been downgraded to a tropical storm, but it still strong enough to cause widespread damage and pose risk to life. The aftermath and recovery will be further complicated because of Covid.
Homelessness and a lack of power will put huge demands on Andrés and WCK’s food relief, as people will not be able to provide for their own needs.
Hurricane Ida. Courtesy NASA | ISS
The Spanish chef’s World Central Kitchen was the recent recipient of a $100 million donation by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos upon his return from his much-publicised trip to space. The sum is to be utilised entirely according to Andrés’ discretion and the funding will certainly support the relief work in New Orleans and beyond.
The Spanish-American chef has been announced as this year's winner for his global humanitarian relief efforts with World Central Kitchen. See the list of ten other special mention chefs also using gastronomy for positive change.