• Morgan Fagg

Hail to the Chef, San José and his soul food

Updated: Aug 6, 2019

From Barcelona to Washington D.C. to feeding the world as a saviour of biblical proportions.

SAN JUAN is the capital of Puerto Rico but one day people will wake up and find a new town called San Jose. San Jose or San José Andrés will be a place with the best restaurants, outside of Barcelona and the best attitude towards food in the world. This is a city far from obesity and named after the world's greatest living chef, José Andrés, a chef even nominated for a Noble Prize.

You know your food is good when you get nominated for a Noble Prize but the Spanish Michelin star chef I believe will one day earn himself a sainthood for giving people a real-life taste of heaven.

Will Jose one day become a saint?

Doubtful of course to imagine a modern day saint but this miracle worker is the only person to out-shine Jesus' Loaves and Fishes parable.

San José and I don't mean Jesus' father Saint Joseph but this award winning humanitarian, has much more than a dozen followers and I don't mean a baker's dozen either. Thanks to thousands of volunteers and his charity, World Central Kitchen, José Andrés has helped to lift people up when they probably felt all alone.

He has offered people "A plate of hope."

From Michelin Stars to Noble Prize nominations to making millions of meals for people in need, this man is cooking up a storm. They say you should stay out of the kitchen if you can't take the heat but when the lights and electricity go out all over an island, he goes in and heats up solar powered stoves.

He feeds people in biblical proportions and according to the Gospel of John, the feeding of 5,000 people is known as the "miracle of the five loaves and two fish" but feeding 5,000 people is something José Andrés probably does in his sleep.

This is a man who makes millions of meals in the worst possible conditions. This celebrity chef has helped to dish-up, up to 175,000 meals in a day and while he is not a McDonald's franchise, he has given people happy meals.

What first attracted me to San José was when he described his humanitarian work at the launch of his book, "We fed an island", José Andrés described how he didn't just serve food to people whose lives were destroyed by Hurricane Maria, he served them good local cuisine. Not tinned cans of food but soul food because that's what people need in a crisis. Local dishes for local people.

This is a chef who clearly understands the importance of food for hungry people who need to be picked up and while I am not a religious person, this former (Lay) Eucharistic Minister can't help but think back to the bible verse, "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat."

I am not sure what it takes to become a saint but a wise man once said,

"The path to sainthood begins on Earth."

More than 3.6 million meals were served in Puerto Rico and while I might admire this man, I hope to god that I never find this celebrity chef cooking for me or my friends and family.

I have read in the past that dog food has to be fit for human consumption because people in desperation turn to dog but this miracle worker gives people dog food too. He has given dog food and diapers and feminine products because hungry people still have to feed their pets and clothe their babies.

This is a man who was probably on the FBI´s most wanted list during the government shutdown as he fed the FEDs and Federal employees who weren't being paid during President Trump's golfing holiday.

President Trump who is some people's saviour, famously appeared with hamburgers on silver platters during the longest Government Shutdown in history but Trump seems to be the only person not enjoying San José's feast days. In 2016, José Andrés left the Trump organisation before he was due to open a restaurant in the Trump International Hotel after Trump's horrible comments about Mexicans.

While cooking food might not be rocket science, I am sure NASA has invented plenty of pizza plates for cooks like me who burn everything; Prof Andrés has been asked to teach Culinary Physics in Harvard University.

The GQ Chef of the Year has been twice named in Time's 100 Most Influential People & thanks to his charity World Central Kitchen, this miracle man has made millions of meals a reality as families have gathered together to say,

"Bless the food we eat today,

bless the hands that made the food, bless us O God, Amen"

American citizen, Chef José has even met with retired army chiefs to discuss the growing security fears of obesity in US cities as the old adage of Napoleon before his defeat at Waterloo goes, "An army marches on their stomachs." You are what you eat and I'm guessing retired generals and admirals are afraid that future soldiers won't really be able to-cut-the-mustard.

So let's spread the gospel about World Central Kitchen and the work they have done in Washington D.C. Cambodia, Cuba, The Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uganda and Zambia.

He has cooked up a storm in the former Spanish colony, Puerto Rico, when Hurricane Maria hit hard.

His story is both amazing and inspirational and now we only need two miracles unexplained by scientists to get the Vatican's attention and San Jose and San Andres can share a feast day with the future San José Andrés and all the Michelin Stars in heaven.

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