José Andrés on Feeding Puerto Ricans

As Hurricane Florence threatens the Carolina coast, Puerto Rico is still on its knees from last year’s devastating storms. Superchef José Andrés made it his mission to save lives there, serving Puerto Ricans an astonishing three million meals in two months.

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CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Do you think what you did can be the template for other emergency reactions?

JOSE ANDRES: Totally. We’ve been in the fires in California. We went to Hawaii after the volcano. We went to Guatemala, more than 400,000 meals.

We took care of the 28 shelters around Antigua. We fed everybody very much in — right now we’re in Indonesia in front of Bali in an island nobody is


So yes, but again we’re not doing nothing special. The only thing we’re doing is, we have a plan, we have a map. We know where our kitchens are.

We know where the hungry is. We know where the bakeries are. And the only thing we do is we make it happen.

But I want to thank the people of the military. The national guard were helping us but they were not helping us from above. They were helping us

because they were seeing what we were doing. They were giving us sometimes Humvees to cross rivers with no bridges.

AMANPOUR: Humvees, really?

ANDRES: Yes. At times, we got their people. We got people of the Navy in Vieques. They were coming in their time off to volunteer in our kitchens

in Vieques.

AMANPOUR: That’s another remarkable story because again, the intersection of the private with the national or the public or whatever you want to call

it, the private and the military in this case, and all of these resources coming to play. I mean we were all somewhat shocked because I mean you

said and many people at the time said, for instance, that FEMA headquarters Puerto Rico was the most inefficient place on earth, leaving the people of

Puerto Rico hungry and thirsty.

And the fact that President Trump didn’t come for 13 days and also you tweeted, “Thank you for throwing paper towels to our fellow Americans in

Puerto Rico. Please next time, before napkins, remember to feed the people first.”

ANDRES: I want to make sure that we understand that actually, I do believe we have great leaders within FEMA. And I need to understand that sometimes

the systems, the laws, the protocols, they’re being created before, handcuff those men from making the right decisions. Sometimes I think the

federal government has to change totally all their rules of engagement to give more freedom to the people that know how to fix the problem. But

sometimes, they need to follow so many rules that they are handcuffed. What happened with us? We didn’t have to follow any rules.

About This Episode EXPAND

Christiane Amanpour interviews Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York and José Andrés, chef and author of “We Fed an Island.” Walter Isaacson interviews John Urschel.