Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Chef José Andrés & World Central Kitchen For The Win... Again!

Middle of last year ago (in the middle of the pandemic and hybrid teaching), I landed on an amazing book entitled Immigrant Innovators: 30 Entrepreneurs Who Made a Difference by Samantha Chagollan. The book, written for 8-12 year olds, was one of those books I read in one sitting... then I went to one of my 4th grade colleagues with zeal and excitement as it was a perfect book to use with their 4th grade Immigration unit. Being a fellow bibliophile and information junkie, she too was tickled pink alongside me. 

Finding 4th grade-level resources for students to do specific biography research can be difficult. The book would perfectly suit our needs with it's kid-friendly, 4-page spread of 30 biographies of famous, current, modern-day immigrants. Plus, it tied to my tech-nature and love of innovation... and with a biography visual report activity we have done (some years on the iPad and some years in Google slides).

One of the 30 individuals mentioned in the book was Spanish-born Chef José Andrés, founder of World Central Kitchen (and a multitude of other restaurants spanning at least ten cities). Shortly after assigning the biography study with the entrepreneurs from the book, I saw an article where José Andrés was giving out gift certificates to restaurant patrons in DC if they showed proof of vaccination. He was doing this to encourage more people to get vaccinated from the Covid-19 virus. That connection to our study had me excited, as we could bring this real world connection to our students.

José Andrés was in the news again earlier this year when he went to Poland with World Central Kitchen to help feed Ukrainian refugees after Putin and Russia's invasion into Ukraine. It was once again timed perfectly with our 4th graders' Immigration study. Additionally, for the past 3 years we have used the UNHCR [United Nations Refugee Agency's] website to teach the about the differences between refugees, migrants, internally displaced people, asylum seekers, returnees and more. The connections students were making to the news were incredibly strong. Additionally, it showed the value and importance of taking action to solve a global problem.

So it goes without saying, that once again, in difficult times, we look to the helpers. In the aftermath of the horrific Uvalde, Texas shootings,  Chef José Andrés is once again a helper. World Central Kitchen set up shop in Uvalde to feed the hurting community. Just as they have done time and time again with hurricane relief, wildfires, earthquakes, tornadoes, families impacted by the climate crisis, and more.

Looking at the dedication of José Andrés and World Central Kitchen, you see the power of his humanitarian efforts

"World Central Kitchen started with a simple idea at home with my wife Patricia: when people are hungry, send in cooks. Not tomorrow, today.... You see, food relief is not just a meal that keeps hunger away. It’s a plate of hope. It tells you in your darkest hour that someone, somewhere, cares about you...This is the real meaning of comfort food. It’s why we make the effort to cook in a crisis.... After a disaster, food is the fastest way to rebuild our sense of community. We can put people back to work preparing it, and we can put lives back together by fighting hunger. Cooking and eating together is what makes us human." ~ Chef José Andrés

It makes me think of the UN Sustainable Goals. José Andrés has worked hard to knock at least 7 of the 17 goals out of the ball park. These are the things that give us all hope.

To learn more about José Andrés, check out these links:

Images from:, UN Goals from and modified by highlighting 7 of the boxes and adding a note, and; quote graphic created at, Video from

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