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We Fed an Island
Cover of We Fed an Island
We Fed an Island
The True Story of Rebuilding Puerto Rico, One Meal at a Time
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FOREWORD BY LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA AND LOUIS A. MIRANDA, JR.

The true story of how a group of chefs fed hundreds of thousands of hungry Americans after Hurricane Maria and touched the hearts of many more

Chef José Andrés arrived in Puerto Rico four days after Hurricane Maria ripped through the island. The economy was destroyed and for most people there was no clean water, no food, no power, no gas, and no way to communicate with the outside world.

Andrés addressed the humanitarian crisis the only way he knew how: by feeding people, one hot meal at a time. From serving sancocho with his friend José Enrique at Enrique's ravaged restaurant in San Juan to eventually cooking 100,000 meals a day at more than a dozen kitchens across the island, Andrés and his team fed hundreds of thousands of people, including with massive paellas made to serve thousands of people alone.. At the same time, they also confronted a crisis with deep roots, as well as the broken and wasteful system that helps keep some of the biggest charities and NGOs in business.

Based on Andrés's insider's take as well as on meetings, messages, and conversations he had while in Puerto Rico, We Fed an Island movingly describes how a network of community kitchens activated real change and tells an extraordinary story of hope in the face of disasters both natural and man-made, offering suggestions for how to address a crisis like this in the future.

Beyond that, a portion of the proceeds from the book will be donated to the Chef Relief Network of World Central Kitchen for efforts in Puerto Rico and beyond.

FOREWORD BY LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA AND LOUIS A. MIRANDA, JR.

The true story of how a group of chefs fed hundreds of thousands of hungry Americans after Hurricane Maria and touched the hearts of many more

Chef José Andrés arrived in Puerto Rico four days after Hurricane Maria ripped through the island. The economy was destroyed and for most people there was no clean water, no food, no power, no gas, and no way to communicate with the outside world.

Andrés addressed the humanitarian crisis the only way he knew how: by feeding people, one hot meal at a time. From serving sancocho with his friend José Enrique at Enrique's ravaged restaurant in San Juan to eventually cooking 100,000 meals a day at more than a dozen kitchens across the island, Andrés and his team fed hundreds of thousands of people, including with massive paellas made to serve thousands of people alone.. At the same time, they also confronted a crisis with deep roots, as well as the broken and wasteful system that helps keep some of the biggest charities and NGOs in business.

Based on Andrés's insider's take as well as on meetings, messages, and conversations he had while in Puerto Rico, We Fed an Island movingly describes how a network of community kitchens activated real change and tells an extraordinary story of hope in the face of disasters both natural and man-made, offering suggestions for how to address a crisis like this in the future.

Beyond that, a portion of the proceeds from the book will be donated to the Chef Relief Network of World Central Kitchen for efforts in Puerto Rico and beyond.

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About the Author-
  • Matt Goulding is an Emmy- and James Beard Award–winning writer and the New York Times bestselling author of over twenty books. He is also the cofounder of Roads & Kingdoms, the 2017 James Beard Publication of the Year.

    José Andrés is a Michelin-starred, James Beard Award–winning chef, and was named among Time's "100 Most Influential People." He is the founder and chairman of World Central Kitchen, the NGO behind #ChefsForPuertoRico, and cofounder of ThinkFoodGroup, which has more than thirty restaurants around the world. He is also the author of three cookbooks and the New York Times best-selling We Fed an Island, which describes how Andrés and his team cooked for hundreds of thousands of hungry Americans in Puerto Rico after the devastation of Hurricane Maria.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from July 9, 2018
    This lovely, energizing story from Michelin-starred chef Andrés and his frequent cookbook coauthor Wolffe (Made in Spain) provides an antidote to passivity and cynicism. Having done food relief work in Haiti in 2010, Andrés was ready to help feed the people of Puerto Rico after the island was ravaged by Hurricane Maria seven year later. Andrés tells how his nonprofit organization thrived despite the fumbling incompetence of government agencies and nonprofits—and an American president who “seemed to have no idea what his role was.” In a matter of days, Andrés and his volunteers had expanded an operation run by his friend Jose Enrique, a San Juan chef, making sandwiches, paellas, and stew (Andres has contempt for the idea that disaster victims deserve only lousy food). In between fighting with red tape–tangled FEMA officials and dealing with the Red Cross’s lack of organization, Andres quickly scaled up an operation with 20,000 volunteers that produced three million meals. “We solved the problems as they popped up,” Andres writes, “as chefs do.” This is a powerful story of the impact a well-meaning group can have on the world.

  • Kirkus

    July 15, 2018
    After Hurricane Maria's destruction of Puerto Rico, a renowned chef and an army of volunteers raced to feed the islanders when others could not.Chef, humanitarian, and founder and chairman of World Central Kitchen, Andrés (Made in Spain: Spanish Dishes for the American Kitchen, 2008, etc.) arrived in Puerto Rico four days after Maria flattened the island to find Puerto Ricans struggling to live without food, clean water, electricity, and a host of other services and conditions. He set out to help the one way he knew how: feeding everyone he possibly could. What started out as a temporary situation lasted for weeks and cost millions of dollars as Andrés and his huge crew of volunteers, working in a coordinated network of kitchens, cranked out vast vats full of chicken and rice and thousands of ham and cheese sandwiches on a daily basis. In this inspirational story of humanitarian aid, co-authored by previous collaborator Wolffe (The Message: The Reselling of President Obama, 2013, etc.), Andrés openly shares his frustration and disappointment with FEMA, Donald Trump, numerous agencies in the U.S. government, and even widely recognized aid groups such as the Salvation Army and the Red Cross. Over and over, the author was met with bureaucratic red tape that delayed funding for food products; eventually, he used his own money to purchase supplies. Andrés knew that the most important issue was getting nutritious and tasty food (rather than the military's ready-to-eat meals, which are barely edible) and water to those in need. Throughout the book, the author's passion to help people is palpable, as is the sense of hope that helped him achieve an almost impossible goal. His actions should be the basis for future work by FEMA and other humanitarian agencies: Provide good food and water to those in need and worry about the money much later.A passionate and courageous story that should be required reading for anyone involved in disaster response.

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from August 1, 2018
    Four days after Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, acclaimed chef Jos� Andr�s arrived on the island to do what he could to feed its hungry people fresh, nourishing meals. Wrangling a group of friends and fellow chefs in San Juan, he quickly founded and became chair of World Central Kitchen, the NGO that eventually served 100,000 meals daily via kitchens in restaurants, schools, a church, and a stadium. In the midst of this massive undertaking, he was thwarted by government red tape, an enormous lack of understanding of the scope of the natural disaster and the abject failure of FEMA, and even the Red Cross (Andr�s has no problem naming names) in his effort to get good food, not the dreaded MREs, to fellow Americans. Impassioned and unwavering in his resolve, Andr�s and equally committed coauthor Wolffe do a masterful job of detailing World Central Kitchen's work. They also provide a primer on Puerto Rican history and a brisk analysis of how the federal government failed its citizens and why a new system for addressing food needs in the wake of disasters must be developed. This is an earthshaking report on Hurricane Maria's catastrophic aftermath and a hopeful and determined look toward preventing similar failures in the future.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2018, American Library Association.)

  • President Bill Clinton "José Andrés's work to build a massive relief operation from the ground up after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico was nothing short of miraculous—and a powerful reminder that we all have a responsibility to do what we can to help one another in times of need."
  • Anderson Cooper "In the days and weeks after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, José Andrés seemed to always be in constant motion. . . but it's only in the pages of this book that the scale of their contribution becomes clear. What an amazing story!"
  • Anthony Bourdain "When disaster hit Puerto Rico, José Andrés didn't wait . . . His big heart and boundless energy could not be restrained by red tape. People were hungry, and José is a chef. Chefs feed people. . . He is a leader, an innovator, and a true hero."
  • Gloria and Emilio Estefan "We know personally of the incredible commitment, ingenuity, and solutions that José brings to our world and the impact this book can have in actually making changes and improving the way we deal with natural disasters. We feel privileged to call him our friend."
  • Washington Post "A manifesto asking governments and nonprofit groups to rethink the way they feed people after a natural disaster...as close to a page-turner as current-affairs nonfiction gets."
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The True Story of Rebuilding Puerto Rico, One Meal at a Time
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