Who else could they possibly have chosen?
The James Beard Foundation has announced that chef José Andrés will receive the 2018 Humanitarian of the Year Award at the organization’s gala ceremony in Chicago on May 7.
Andrés is a multiple Beard Award winner, including Outstanding Chef in 2011. He has also been recognized, in 2012, by Time magazine as one of the most influential people in the world, and GQ magazine named him its Man of the Year in 2009.
The Spanish-born chef has restaurant operations all over the world and later this year will open Jaleo at Disney Springs.
He is a longtime advocate for food and hunger issues, and in 2012 founded World Central Kitchen, a non-profit that provides solutions to hunger and poverty by using the power of food to empower communities and strengthen economies.
But it is surely what Andrés has been doing over the past several months that brings him the humanitarian award. Along with World Central Kitchen, Andrés has served over three million meals to the citizens of Puerto Rico following the devastation of Hurricane Maria. He didn’t just send representatives, he went over himself to cook and serve the food, usually under challenging conditions.
And it’s ongoing. Just Saturday he posted a video on Facebook from Punta Santiago that said schools were closing at 11:30 a.m. because they could not feed the students.
“The Foundation is thrilled to name José Andrés as the 2018 Humanitarian of the Year,” Mitchell Davis, executive vice president of the James Beard Foundation, said in a statement. “José’s work in Puerto Rico and Haiti shows how chefs can use their expertise and unique skills to enact profound change on a global scale. He has demonstrated how, at the most difficult times, hot-cooked meals provide more than nutrition, they provide dignity.”
No details have been released regarding the opening date for the Disney Springs Jaleo, but I’m sure we’ll all welcome Andés to the community.