Spain honors chef José Andrés for humanitarian kitchens

MADRID — The chef José Andrés and his World Central Kitchen were awarded a prestigious Spanish prize Wednesday for their international relief work promoting healthy food.

The jury that decides the Princess of Asturias Awards awarded the 51-year-old Andrés and the non-profit group he founded the Award of Concord for “offering extraordinarily fast and efficient on-the-ground response to social and nutritional emergencies.”

Born in northern Spain in 1969, Andrés moved to the U.S. in 1991 and was later naturalized as an American citizen. He helped popularize Spanish cuisine, especially the tapa, in the U.S. before he also became heavily involved in humanitarian work.

Andrés founded the World Central Kitchen in 2010 following a trip to Haiti to do aid work. Since then, it has been active in deploying field kitchens to respond to food crises both in the United States and abroad. The organization served over 3.6 million meals in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017. Last year, Andrés dedicated some of his own restaurants in the U.S. to help feed people in need during the coronavirus pandemic.

A recipient of many honors, Andrés was awarded a National Humanities Medal by President Obama in 2015.

The 50,000-euro ($56,700) Princess of Asturias Awards of Concord is one of eight prizes, including for the arts, social sciences and sports, handed out annually by a foundation named for Spanish Crown Princess Leonor.