Giving Compass’ Take:
• Chef Jose Andres is an activist-philanthropist volunteering around the world to provide food for vulnerable people, especially ones who live in countries that need disaster relief support.
• How can this chef’s story inspire others who are not in philanthropic sector to be part of it? How can the collaboration of multiple industries lead to philanthropic pursuits?
• Jose Andres is not the only celebrity to have a story like this one. Read about how this famous actor got into the business of philanthropy through coffee.
Most days, the restaurateur and chef José Andrés rises around 7 a.m. and, after flicking through the headlines on his iPhone X, makes his way over to his home gym to work the elliptical machine. Only after he’s showered and shaved does the 48-year-old, who likes to describe his career as “one long attempt to explain the world through food,” allow himself his first meal of the day.
In many ways, Andrés resembles fellow business luminaries such as Chobani’s Hamdi Ulukaya, Starbucks’s Howard Schultz, and Patagonia’s Rose Marcario, who have managed to expand their enterprises while speaking out about–and acting on–their values. But Andrés’s spontaneity makes him unique.
Through his prolific use of social media, his lack of filter, and his impulse to go where the action is, Andrés is pioneering a rapid-response model of leadership. This is no fully vetted corporate social responsibility effort. It’s one man acting on instinct, adjusting on the fly, and observing as things tend to fall into place behind him. This freewheeling approach might rankle some, but it’s working: He’s attracting talent to ThinkFoodGroup, donations to World Central Kitchen, and customers to his restaurants. He is a walking, tweeting, pot-stirring, brand-building experiment.
But it was his work after Hurricane Maria that made him a household name. As Andrés tells it, he had no concrete plans when he and filmmaker Nate Mook, who had volunteered on numerous WCK initiatives, boarded a plane to Puerto Rico in September, mere days after the category 5 storm swept across the island, killing dozens and leveling the power grid. “I just knew I needed to be there,” Andrés says.
Eventually, they established 23 kitchens that churned out what Andrés estimates to be more than 3.3 million meals, leaning on local volunteers for help with cooking and distribution. On Andrés’s insistence, many of the meals were hot–big, steaming pots of paella and chicken and rice.
Read the full article about a philanthropic chef by Matthew Schaer at Fast Company.
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