The Tragic Reason José Andrés Rushed To Kentucky

In a natural disaster of proportions that FEMA administrator Deanne Criswell called "unprecedented" for this time of year, tornadoes flattened homes and businesses late Friday, December 10th, and early the next day, impacting at least six states (via CNN). The destruction is catastrophic. Among the hard-hit places is Kentucky, where governor Andy Beshear said the tornadoes wrought "devastation like none of us have ever seen before." He further suggested that the number of deaths could exceed 100. Complicating matters, concerns about lack of shelter and resources during colder winter could create a crisis in the aftermath. As the mayor of Mayfield, Kentucky, explained, "It's 30 degrees here now. It's really cold. There are — we lost a water tower so there's no water flowing within the city of Mayfield. That is an immediate concern, as well as the protection, the warmth for our citizens."

After the tragic news reached chef José Andrés, he headed to the airport, determined to do something about these conditions. While at the airport, the chef posted a video to Instagram, saying in the caption, "People of America...tragic day for so many families. I am at DCA airport flying to meet @WCKitchen team in Kentucky responding to the tornadoes." In the clip, he explained that food trucks from his charity World Central Kitchen were on the way, later adding, "I always say that wherever there is a fight so hungry people or people in need may eat, that we will be there." 

José Andrés is bringing Biscuit Love to tornado survivors

World Central Kitchen has experience responding to disasters of this sort. Previous instances include the aftermath of Hurricane Ida in Louisiana, the 2021 earthquake in Haiti, and the La Palma volcanic eruption in Spain (via World Central Kitchen). The WCK's Chef Relief Team deploys food trucks works with local kitchens in disaster-stricken areas "to provide freshly made and nutritious meals to survivors of disasters quickly and effectively."

Judging from a Twitter post by one of its members, World Central Kitchen was actually on the ground in Mayfield, Kentucky, by late Saturday and had already begun delivering meals to first responders. By Sunday morning José Andrés was also in the state. The chef shared on Twitter, "Good Morning from @WCKitchen partner Biscuit Love...picking up over 200 meals they have been preparing since early today! I'm headed to meet some of our WCK teams in Kentucky as we make sure communities and search & rescue have fresh meals today and ongoing... #ChefsForKentucky."

Andrés' humanitarian efforts are such an enormous undertaking, but so much of his message is simple. As the humanitarian chef remarked in his airport video, "We all need to be kinder to each other. We need to respect each other, because it is already a difficult world sometimes" (via Instagram).