The Food Network would have you believe that they invented the celebrity chef, but, in reality, we’ve had chefs reach superstar status for decades. What I believe is new is the celebrity chef with a social conscience.
Enter José Andrés who in the 25 years since opening his Spanish tapas restaurant, Jaleo, has emerged as a philanthropist, a humanitarian, champion of the voiceless and foil to our current President. Andrés was on the front line of a large-scale effort to feed Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria which left the island’s infrastructure in tatters and its people without clean water, lights or hot food. Under his World Central Kitchen, founded in 2010 following the earthquake in Haiti, Andrés has mobilized his fellow chefs to develop solutions to poverty and hunger. An innovative and energetic chef who has been honored by the James Beard Foundation as outstanding chef in 2011, Andrés has received several accolades in recent months, including the James Beard Foundation Humanitarian Award in recognition of the work he has down through World Central Kitchen in support of Puerto Rico and other socially conscious initiatives.
That is why I am excited to be participating in Dine-n-Dash, a fundraiser to benefit World Central Kitchen. For one fee, participants have access to 30 of Washington, DC’s best restaurants where they can feast and drink the chef’s favorite food and beverages. In addition to Andrés’ restaurants, diners can enjoy food at Estadio, Barcelona Wine Bar, momofuku, SEI, Colada Shop and Daikaya, to name a few. Joining me will be my good friend, Pasta a Casa’s Wendy Pflaum, who, like me, is seizing the opportunity to try out new restaurants and revisit old favorites. It seems like an audacious goal but what else would you expect from a man who proved to be more effect in his relief efforts than our own government.
Interested in supporting an amazing organization? Go to dinendash.info to buy tickets. If you would like to meet up with me and Wendy, we are starting at Barcelona Wine Bar. Too rich for your budget? Then follow me on Instagram and Twitter where I will be posting images from the restaurants we visit. Look for a future post on this evening’s adventure.