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An in-depth profile on Chef Jose Andrés for TIME Magazine hammers home the essential role immigrants play in America in general and especially now on the front lines of the COVID-19 outbreak; particularly when it comes to feeding the nation.
The profile comes after Chef Andrés’s appearance on the premiere episode of the MSNBC series “What’s Eating America,” which called attention to the immigrant workers — making up a whopping 29% of the culinary industry — who make it possible for families across America to put food on their tables.
In the absence of action from the administration, Chef Jose Andrés once again is taking charge, caring for people in need and unifying the nation
Said Pili Tobar, Deputy Director of America’s Voice:
Before the bat signal was even lit, Chef Andrés was already on a plane ready to roll up his sleeves. Through his work with World Central Kitchen, Chef Andres highlights the key role immigrants play in our service industries and emergency responses. The backbone of our nation during this pandemic is not Congress, it’s not the White House, it’s workers — many of whom are immigrants and undocumented — who continue to harvest, serve, and shelve food so we can eat, who are health care professionals and care for some of the most vulnerable populations in America. Shamefully, the Senate stimulus package passed last night fails to recognize their essential role and offer coverage and access to testing for everyone, regardless of immigration status. The Trump administration will continue to villainize immigrants through this crisis because that is the main theme of his reelection campaign. Luckily we have Chef Jose Andrés to continue to stand up against hatred, stand up for America and stand in for the administration.
As Sean Gregory says in his profile of Andres:
Andrés’ rapidly expanding charity, World Central Kitchen, is as prepared as anyone for this moment of unprecedented global crisis. The nonprofit stands up field kitchens to feed thousands of people fresh, nourishing, often hot meals as soon as possible at the scene of a hurricane, earthquake, tornado or flood. As a global public-health emergency, COVID-19 hasn’t been limited to any one place. But it pulverizes the economy as it rolls across the world, and people need money to eat. World Central Kitchen already is distributing meals in low-income neighborhoods in big cities like New York, and monitoring the globe for food shortages elsewhere, some sure to be acute.
In the meantime, Andrés is a lesson of leadership in crisis. In a catastrophe in which the response of the U.S. government has been slow, muddled and unsure, his kitchen models the behavior—nimble, confident, proactive—the general public needs in a crisis (and, so far, has provided it more reliably than the federal government). Consider the Grand Princess. President Donald Trump made crystal clear he would have preferred that people remain on the vessel so the infected passengers would not increase the tally of cases he appeared to see as a personal scoreboard (“I like the numbers being where they are”). Then, a few breaths later, the President said he was deferring to experts, which made life easier for the quarantined passengers and crew who disembarked, a few hundred at a time, over a week, but harder for Americans looking for the clear, unambiguous instruction that’s so essential to public health. “We have a President more worried about Wall Street going down,” says Andrés, “than about the virus itself.”