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We Fed an Island

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We Fed an Island

The True Story of Rebuilding Puerto Rico, One Meal at a Time


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

The Chefs of Puerto Rico united amid Hurricane Maria’s ruins, stepping in as official relief failed.

Editorial Rating



  • Eye Opening
  • Concrete Examples
  • Inspiring


When famed restaurateur Chef José Andrés landed on hurricane-devastated Puerto Rico, he had no crisis management plan. He just knew he wanted to feed people. This riveting account covers his relief efforts as he formed Chefs for Puerto Rico. With thousands of volunteers, 24 kitchens, seven food trucks, donations and two FEMA contracts, they overcame many hurdles – like no electricity – to feed traumatized people. Andrés exposes the weaknesses of government’s relief. Telling his tale chronologically, he shows how a few people can make a big difference in a crisis, and demonstrates the healing benefits of making and eating good food.


In September 2017, Hurricane Maria ripped through Puerto Rico with 155 mph winds.

Maria, a category five hurricane, spared nothing as it traveled west spreading devastation across the island. Renowned chef José Andrés had trained in Puerto Rico and owned a restaurant on Dorado Beach. Finding it difficult to get information about the damage after the storm, he decided to go see for himself.

He gathered supplies for the trip and contacted chef Jose Enrique Montes, who had a restaurant in Santurce, though Maria had wrecked it.

After the 2010 Haitian earthquake, Chef Andrés founded World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit that gives food to people after disasters.

World Central Kitchen is a familiar presence in disaster-hit communities, where it partners with local nonprofits to supply good food. In Haiti, it opened a restaurant and bakery at a children’s home, trained personnel and donated equipment. Food sales fund the home. It also opened a culinary school and helped improve kitchens in the island’s schools. World Central Kitchen helped women in the Dominican Republic build...

About the Author

José Andrés is an internationally known chef, restaurant owner and best-selling author. The James Beard foundation named him “Humanitarian of the Year” in 2018. Author and Guardian columnist Richard Wolffe co-wrote two cookbooks and two television series with Andrés. 

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