Chef José Andrés in the Bahamas, helping save lives ‘one meal at a time’
The chef and his team are in Nassau essentially taking matters into their own hands. They’ve already served some 15,000 meals to people. Everything, down to the consistency of the soup, was being carefully planned by chef Andrés.
“We need to crank as many meals as we can from this kitchen,” he told “CBS This Morning” lead national correspondent David Begnaud.
It was nearly 11:00 last night, and Andrés was holding court in a make-shift war room, urgently planning a mass feeding operation.
Starting today, he and his team of about a dozen people from World Central Kitchen are aiming to deliver 30,000 meals daily to the Abaco and Grand Bahama Islands that felt the brunt of Dorian’s wrath.
The damage is widespread. U.N. officials say more than 60,000 people on the islands will need food, and the Red Cross says 62,000 people need clean drinking water.
In the Northern Abaco Islands, “Everything is gone,” Andrés said. “There’s no electricity, there’s no communication.”
The team’s been working non-stop, prepping and delivering meals to those impacted by the hurricane.
On Monday, Andrés traveled to Abaco with more than 1,000 ham-and-cheese sandwiches.
“We’re an NGO, we’re trying to be saving as many lives as we can, one meal at a time,” he said.
To carry out the massive operation, the chef chartered two seaplanes and an amphibious vehicle. He’s also rented at least two helicopters to ferry food from a boat he’s hired from Florida.
This isthe celebrity chef has become a first responder, using his talents to feed victims of a disaster zone. After Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, World Central Kitchen stepped in to serve nearly four million meals, with the help of thousands of volunteers. “Obviously the most number one priority right now is search and rescue,” he said.
Andrés said their goal in the Bahamas is to give the local government fewer problems to solve: “That’s what we are trying to do. To create this system of feeding so this problem goes away, and they can take care of everything else.”
The team is continuing to pinpoint locations to set up additional field kitchens, which could be difficult amid all the severe damage.
But Andrés told his team during last night’s meeting: “In disaster zones, you need empathy, and a will to just get it done.”