WCK founder José Andrés landed in San Juan on September 25, 2017.
It was just a few days after Hurricane Maria wiped out the entire power grid, and decimated agriculture and infrastructure. After cooking a few thousand meals from our friend Jose Enrique’s restaurant in Santurce, we began receiving calls for help from all over the island. So we called on chefs across Puerto Rico and from the mainland United States, and activated food trucks who became our delivery angels, reaching remote areas every single day.
We began to expand our operations all across Puerto Rico, mobilizing a network of emergency kitchens, nearly a dozen food trucks, and partner organizations to make sure that everyone in need received a hot meal. The #ChefsForPuertoRico movement quickly grew to serve over 150,000 meals in a single day — touching communities in every municipality and becoming the largest meal operation following the hurricane.
From September 2017 to June 2018, WCK served over 3.7 million meals from 25 kitchens, with the help of over 20,000 volunteers.
And we are still there, fully committed to Puerto Rico’s future.
As we purchased virtually all our produce directly from smallholder farmers, we gained tremendous insight into the needs of that community. Puerto Rico imports over 85% of its food, making the island especially vulnerable after a disaster. That has to change.
In early 2018, we conducted an agricultural assessment of Puerto Rico and determined that the best way to continue “feeding an island” was by supporting Puerto Rico’s smallholder farmers.
Our Plow To Plate program aims to increase food security in Puerto Rico by providing funding, training, and networking opportunities to smallholder farmers and businesses that support local agriculture.
Serving sancoho from Jose Enrique’s restaurant days after Hurricane Maria hit.
Just a few of our incredible #ChefsForPuertoRico volunteers.
The Coliseo became the biggest “restaurant” in the world, serving 75,000 people per day.
#ChefsForPuertoRico team member Alejandro Torres prepares paella.