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Humanitarian Chef José Andrés Is Turning His Swanky Restaurants Into Gourmet Soup Kitchens During Coronavirus Outbreak

What do you have in your cupboards? If you’re like a lot of families right now, I bet it’s a lot of cans of beans and boxes of pasta. But some folks are struggling to get a meal—and Michelin-starred chef José Andrés is transforming his restaurants in order to help feed them.

In places like New York City, all restaurants are currently closed except to offer take-out or delivery service. But Andrés’ is transforming eight of his famous restaurants in New York City and Washington, DC into places where those having trouble making ends meet in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic can get some food for an affordable price.

To-go meals cost $7, but as with everything right now, the community kitchen will be flexible with those who may be out of work or financially strapped. There is also an option to donate a meal to someone who may need it.

“Those who cannot afford to pay we will welcome as well,” Andrés said in a statement, explaining that many of his restaurants will otherwise be closed.

The community kitchen is open from noon to 5 p.m. daily, offering only takeout service. All Andrés’ employees are getting paid leave for at least the first two weeks.

This isn’t the first time Andrés is stepping in to help comfort and feed those in difficult situations. He founded World Central Kitchen in 2010 after seeing first-hand the devastation caused by an earthquake in Haiti. Since then, he has used his organization to build kitchens at underfunded schools, teach food safety, and assist in hunger relief efforts in Puerto Rico—where World Central Kitchen served as the primary food source.

“We are in a serious global emergency and people need to take every precaution, including staying home as much as possible,” Andrés said. “However, we also want to help provide food for those who want it in a safe manner, so we feel these community kitchens can help during this challenging time.”

Patricia Grisafi

Written by Patricia Grisafi