In response to the global pandemic, José Andrés had to close his restaurants. His restaurant group, ThinkFoodGroup, released a statement in March explaining that all restaurants in the Washington, D.C. area and New York City will temporarily close to encourage social distancing. Many of the restaurants will be re-purposed as community kitchens. “We are in a serious global emergency and people need to take every precaution, including staying home as much as possible,” Andrés said in a statement. “However, we also want to help provide food for those who want it in a safe manner, so we feel these community kitchens can help during this challenging time. And those who cannot afford to pay we will welcome as well.”
As the coronavirus continues to affect millions of people worldwide, José Andrés’ nonprofit, World Central Kitchen, is now helping feed emergency dispatchers, sanitation workers, and families in need all across the country. He announced a commitment to healthcare workers: Once his restaurants reopen, they’ll eat for free for the rest of the year. “This is my promise,” he wrote in a tweet. “My mom and dad, and uncle, and godmother were nurses, doctors, pharmacist! When I reopen my restaurants, I hope I will, every active Doctor and Nurse will eat for free for the rest of the year!”
Andrés has World Central Kitchen sites around the country serving free meals to healthcare workers, laid-off hospitality workers, low-income communities, and more. World Central Kitchen partnered with Help Feed the Frontline, a community effort to deliver meals to hospital workers in the Los Angeles area. “We don’t always get a chance to even eat, so to have something prepared for you and ready to go…is priceless,” radiology director Rikki Flugoni told KTLA 5.