José Andrés’s World Central Kitchen, Central to U.S. Gaza Aid Plan, Aims to Ramp Up

José Andrés’s World Central Kitchen, Central to U.S. Gaza Aid Plan, Aims to Ramp Up

Since October, organizers and Palestinian cooks working with the World Central Kitchen — the aid organization founded by the renowned Spanish chef José Andrés — have served more than 32 million meals in Gaza, the group has said. Plans for the U.S. military to build a floating pier to bring aid into the enclave would give the group critical access to a steady supply of food they’d need to more than double the meals they’re serving daily and further aid people in the northern portion of Gaza, Mr. Andrés said in an interview on Thursday.

“We’re trying to do the impossible,” he said. “It’s worth trying the impossible to feed the people of Gaza.”

The organization has established 65 community kitchens in Gaza that are managed by local Palestinians, with plans to add at least 35 more, Mr. Andres said. About 350,000 meals are being served every day, but Mr. Andrés said he would like to distribute more than a million meals.

Getting food and aid into Gaza has been daunting, he said. The World Central Kitchen has resorted to providing some aid through airdrops with the Royal Jordanian Air Force.

Mr. Andrés founded the organization in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, which killed some 300,000 people. Since then, he has responded to numerous natural disasters and wars in the United States and abroad. The association served millions of meals in 2017 to Puerto Ricans affected by Hurricane Maria, to Ukrainians affected by the war against Russia, and most recently to people dealing with fires in Chile and Texas, among other places.

“We need to shoot for the moon because anywhere we fall is worth the effort,” he said.

The association is the largest emergency feeding program ever set up by a group of chefs, serving more than 350 million meals since it was founded. Its impact is immediate because he and his staff can network quickly, organize kitchens in harsh conditions and source ingredients and equipment.

The kitchens, like those in Gaza, are often managed by locals, who cook their cuisine. Many of those recipes were compiled into a World Central Kitchen cookbook that was published in September.

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