Why José Andrés Is So Passionate About Cooking

Food is more than just a way of life for chef José Andrés, who first learned how to cook from his parents. He eventually built on that skill to become the chef and owner of more than 15 restaurants with a combined four Michelin stars and four Bib Gourmands (via ThinkFoodGroup). Through his decades of experience, he's learned the deeper importance of cooking, as he describes in the new Julia Child documentary, "Julia."

Generations might separate them, but the Spanish-born chef's view of food isn't too different from that of legendary cookbook author and food television host Julia Child, who encouraged home cooks across America to go into the kitchen with confidence. Julie Cohen, a director of "Julia," described the "love and care [Child] took towards preparing food and her big revelation of how joyous life can be when you're just staying in your own kitchen creating delicacies for the people that you love," in an interview with The Wrap. "Julia devoted herself first to perfecting that for herself and then to sharing it."

Andrés appears to embrace a similar perspective. As he put it during his interview in "Julia," "Cooking and food is important. Being fed by our mothers minutes after we are born — that's warmth. That's why we have this need to be feeding the people we love." He goes on, "That gives me a sense of I belong, I am here. I am part of something bigger."

Andrés enjoys feeding both friends and strangers

Andrés is connected to Child in a couple of ways. He was named the recipient of the 2019 Julia Child Award, given annually by The Julia Child Foundation to honor a figure who follows "closely in Julia's footsteps" by being an educator, mentor, and more, the organization's website says. Well before that, he got to know Child by watching her cooking show. "I was fascinated by the way she would express herself. The way she will seem to enjoy life. The way she will make you feel like that one chicken she had in front of her was the most important thing in the history of mankind," Andrés, who moved to the United States from Spain in the early 1990s, told The Washington Post. "I guess, in part, I learned English watching that woman."

Beyond sharing food with the people he loves, as he describes in the "Julia" documentary, Andrés also feeds complete strangers through his work with World Central Kitchen. It was likely the sense of belonging that he feels while cooking that inspired him to found the organization, a nonprofit that sets up field sites to provide hot food for those affected by natural disasters, according to its website. Through his varied work as a chef, he's able to pursue his passion for feeding the world and being part of something bigger than himself.