Chef and restaurateur José Andrés has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in feeding victims of natural disasters, particular in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, his nominator confirmed.
Andrés, founder of ThinkFoodGroup, a restaurant company based in Washington, D.C., as well as hunger relief organization World Central Kitchen, was nominated by John Delaney, a Democratic congressman from Maryland who has started his campaign to run for president of the United States in 2020.
“Congressman Delaney nominated Mr. Andres earlier this month,” Delaney’s communications director, Will McDonald, said in an email.
The nomination process is kept confidential by the Nobel committee, but language from Delaney’s nomination published by the Washington Post praises Andrés for his efforts to feed disaster victims.
“Because of Mr. Andrés’s work, millions of people have been fed,” the Post quoted Delaney as saying. “This is the most basic human need and Mr. Andrés has proven to be world-class in this essential humanitarian field. With an incredible spirit and an innovative mind, Mr. Andrés is solving one of the world’s ancient problems and supplying world leaders with a new road map to provide more effective disaster relief in the future.”
Andrés, who was a keynote speaker at the MUFSO conference last month, recounted his efforts to feed victims, and told attendees that they, too, could change the world.
“You only need to start fixing what you have in front of you, and, in a magical way, on its own, everything fixes itself,” he said.
Most recently, Andrés has been cooking for victims of the wildfires in California.
He founded World Central Kitchen in 2010 to respond to earthquake victims in Haiti.
A spokeswoman for Andrés said he had no comment on the nomination, but in response to a congratulatory tweet, he said, “I don’t know if it is true, but if it is, I’m humbled by it. I’m one more guy between thousands of people helping feed people in need, every day around the world, unrecognized …”
Andrés has received wide praise for his hunger-relief efforts, including the 2018 Humanitarian of the Year award from the James Beard Foundation.
His ThinkFoodGroup operates a wide range of restaurants, from fine dining establishments Minibar and Somni to fast-casual vegetable-focused chain Beefsteak, as well multiple locations of The Bazaar by José Andrés, five-unit tapas concept Jaléo, Middle Eastern Zaytinya and others.
According to the Nobel Peace Prize’s website, quoting the will of Alfred Nobel who established the award, the prize is to be given to the person "who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”
The prize has been awarded 99 times to 130 individuals and organizations. Past winners have included Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, Mikhail Gorbachev, the Dalai Lama and The International Committee of the Red Cross.
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