Chef José Andrés’s World Central Kitchen Partners With Austin Restaurants to Feed Austinites During Texas Winter Storm
World Central Kitchen, the culinary nonprofit of chef José Andrés, supports the residents of Texas hit by the winter storm at a time when people still have no electricity, no access to water or even clean water. As soon as the group landed in town on Thursday, they linked up with the local group Good Works Austin. Together, the organizations arranged restaurants where meals are cooked and delivered to specific locations where food is needed, e.g. B. Thermal protection rooms and hospitals.
One of the first restaurants to take part in the relief mission in Texas is the Zilker hotel restaurant Carpenters Hall. The connection made sense as the hotel restaurant is run by Chef Jorge Hernández, who worked under Andrés and sees the chef as a mentor.
Hernández, the restaurant’s head chef, Lou Perella, and the rest of the team have already spent the week cooking meals for hotel guests – even in times of power failure. They have been expanded to prepare and deliver meals through World Central / Good Works Austin starting Wednesday night. The next day they cooked picadillo and potato stews for the Sunrise Community Church.
“It seems like every chef or restaurant group in town has recognized, ‘Hey, we have to do this,’” says Hernández. “The mentality that José had from the start was, ‘Okay, we don’t know how to do a lot of things to fix everything, but we know how to cook so at least we can do that.’ “he continues. “It’s such a close community of chefs.”
Many other Austin restaurants also joined the effort. The new American restaurant Sala & Betty prepared meals for the refugee home Casa Marianella (beef stroganoff, toast and green beans) and the Dell Children’s Medical Center (fried vegetable rice with tofu or pork, with the help of the café The Steeping Room) on Friday.
Hernández told Eater that Emmer & Rye chefs Kevin Fink and Tavel Bristol-Joseph prepared 1,200 meals on Thursday and sent 600 more meals to the Palmer Event Center, which acts as the heating center. On the same day, the Asian fusion mini-chain Chi’lantro supplied the soup kitchen and the Angel House shelter with meals. The Japanese noodle shop Ramen Tatsu-ya delivered meals to the Mary Lee Foundation Community Center. Gastropub Drink.Well spends the weekend preparing and delivering dinner for the Reilly Elementary School’s Warming Center, another warming center.
Without these systems already in place by Good Works Austin, none of these relief efforts would have been possible. The organization had already fed agencies and organizations during the pandemic, from the Austin Independent School District to Austin Public Health to El Buen Samaritano.
“How many times have we had some kind of emergency response to food here in the last few years?” asks Adam Orman, founding member of the group and co-owner of L’Oca d’Oro. “This is a small step forward that has made it easier to respond to food.”
This effort has been driven with the help of organizations like the Austin Food & Wine Alliance and individuals like local blogger Jane Ko and publicists Cara Caulkins and Chelsea McCullough, as well as with the help of corporate sponsors.
Texas is not new territory for World Central Kitchen. Disaster Relief brought the nonprofits to Houston during Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and Beaumont to Houston during Hurricane Laura in 2020. Nor is this the first time World Central Kitchen has partnered with Good Works Austin. The global group supported Good Works’ Safe Table initiative, which was supplying pantries with groceries to help seniors who did not have access to food.
World Central Kitchen’s efforts in Austin and the rest of Texas will continue over the weekend. Check the social media accounts for updates.