It’s often a mixed blessing when global icon José Andrés arrives near you with one of his trademarked windbreakers or shirts from World Central Kitchen.
This means that your community has likely suffered natural devastation. This also means that qualified, passionate local people organize themselves to support relief efforts.
The DC-based chef founded the organization in 2010, and World Central Kitchen has since delivered tens of millions of meals to citizens around the world suffering from food insecurity caused by hurricanes, earthquakes, global pandemics, and more.
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The WCK team mobilized in Austin and several other Texas cities last week to cook meals for people who suffered losses in the historic winter storm that left millions without water and electricity for days. The organization, working with Good Work Austin, an Austin hospitality nonprofit, delivered meals from 42 Austin restaurants to community organizations, frontline workers and community members.
Andrés and WCK Operations Manager Tim Kilcoyne arrived in Austin on Sunday evening to meet with Adam Orman, partner at Good Work Austin and L’Oca d’Oro, and Chef Fiore Tedesco to highlight the duo’s help in helping the Austinites food aid. On Monday they picked up meals in Olamaie and took them to a ward distribution point at St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church in Manor.
“The premise of World Central Kitchen is that we have no plan. We are adapting to the situation, ”Andrés told the American statesman on Monday as he stopped to see his former protégé, chef Jorge Hernández, at the Carpenter Hotel in Zilker.
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In Austin, this meant identifying restaurants that could partner and work with Good Work Austin to ensure dozens of restaurants were paid to prepare and deliver meals across the area.
Andrés said the situation in Austin and across Texas was compounded by the fact that there was no strategic plan to enable professionals to prepare and deliver food and water for the community.
“There is no central command to enable everyone to work together,” said Andrés.
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The Spanish chef believes that in the future, the city and state government must identify existing spaces such as school kitchens that can serve to serve a community and ensure that they empower various experts in all areas. Pointing a finger, he says, is of no use in times of crisis. But these moments should ask us questions about how well prepared we are and what we can do to help.
“Do we have the right managers? Do we have the right rescue workers? Do we have the right resources to respond to the emergency? “Said Andrés.” The government is everyone. If the government fails, we fail. It takes firefighters, National Guards, police and individuals who want to borrow their cars to bring water and food to hospitals. So we have to in these emergencies see that a whole village has to come together strongly. “
This is a developing story.