“Let’s go feed the world”: Spanish chef gets €85m for his charity from Jeff Bezos
TOP Spanish chef José Andrés has received €85 million from Amazon boss Jeff Bezos for his charitable foundation World Central Kitchen, through which he provides food and aid for victims of natural disasters and other crises.
Bezos, upon his return from his express return trip to space in the Blue Origin rocket New Shepard, where he reached an altitude of 100 kilometres (62 miles) above the earth’s surface, announced he would be donating US$200m (€170m) to charity through his new project, the ‘Courage and Civility Award’.
World Central Kitchen will get half of this sum, and the other beneficiary is the charity ‘Dream Corps’, run by US-based commentator Van Jones.
José Andrés (pictured at the front, by the bar), who has lived in the USA for over 26 years but was born in the northern Spanish principality of Asturias, has hit the headlines several times in the last five – firstly for breaking a contract to run a restaurant in a Trump Towers hotel after the ex-president was reported to have made disparaging comments about Mexicans, and later for handing out food parcels to government workers left unpaid during Trump’s shutdown.
More recently, José Andrés offered a job to a dinner lady in Cannan, New Hampshire who was fired for giving a free school lunch to a little boy from a poor family – the child’s parents paid up the next day anyway – and gave food parcels to victims of a massive explosion in Beirut.
World Central Kitchen, founded in 2010, sets up camp wherever it is needed in the world, and José’s followers were stunned by his Twitter video showing him in the Bahamas in the middle of Hurricane Dorian, where he had traveled to feed those whose homes had been destroyed.
Last month, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry, and Meghan Markle – now living in California – announced they had joined forces with José Andrés to set up an aid centre in India as the sub-continent battled with one of the planet’s worst outbreaks of Covid-19.
Jeff Bezos and his space trip – which he thanked ‘every customer and employee’ of Amazon for ‘paying for’ – has not entirely escaped controversy: A petition has been launched on Care2, claiming the world’s richest man plans to stop testing staff at the firm’s warehouses for Covid-19.
According to the petition authors: “Roughly 20,000 or his warehouse workers have contracted the deadly coronavirus, undoubtedly many of them at work.
“Many workers have even asserted they’ve been fired for blowing the whistle on how unsafe warehouse conditions have been during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic is absolutely not over. AJ+ is reporting that not even 50% of Amazon warehouse workers are vaccinated.”
Bezos has yet to respond to the petition, which has so far gathered around 10,000 signatures in under 24 hours.
But his gesture to José Andrés, who will receive this year’s Princess of Asturias Award in the Concordance category, has earned Bezos heartfelt praise.
An emotional José Andrés (front, in the checked shirt) thanks Jeff Bezos (in the hat) for his US$100m donation to his charity (photo: CNBC Live)
“We’re really grateful for this,” says Andrés, who appeared very moved when he learned the news.
“It’ll allow us to look beyond the next hurricane.
“Now is the time for thinking big, with the emergencies of today.”
World Central Kitchen was borne out of a ‘very simple, but very powerful idea, José explains.
“That food can change the world,” he says.
His charity aims to ‘change the way in which three billion people, mostly women, cook on dirty hobs’.
“We think globally, but we feed locally,” says the celebrity chef, who reveals that the Covid-19 pandemic has driven ‘hundreds of thousands to hunger and famine’ worldwide.
José Andrés concluded his thank-you speech to Bezos with: “Jeff, let’s go feed the world.”
Published thinkspain.com 21 July 2021