Whether it’s because of his humanitarian work, or his longstanding criticisms of President Donald Trump, celebrity chef José Andrés is no stranger to making waves.
As reported by Food & Wine, Andrés made quite the splash at this year’s Cayman Cookout, hosted at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman. In 2017, Andrés rode in on a horse — literally. Last year, he opted to jump out of a helicopter, landing in the water and swimming to shore. This time around, Andrés showed up in a small yellow submarine, one which rolled up on the shore of the hotel. After the celebrity chef emerged from the submersible, he proceeded to shower the crowd by spraying Champagne everywhere.
Yes, you read that correctly.
Sure, his cooking demonstration was light-hearted — and as Food & Wine reports, flowing with alcohol — but that shouldn’t color your opinion on Andrés. When he isn’t showing up to ritzy events in over-the-top modes of transportation, the Spanish-American chef devotes much of his time to humanitarian work.
In 2010, Andrés formed the World Central Kitchen, a non-governmental organization (NGO) which aims to deliver healthy meals to individuals and families affected by disasters. Since it was founded, Andrés’ organization has organized food for those living in the Dominican Republic, Zambia, Peru, Cuba, Uganda, and Cambodia.
Andrés garnered widespread attention in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Back in 2017, the Michelin Star chef took it upon himself to provide disaster relief in Puerto Rico. Despite encountering numerous obstacles — usually in the form of red tape from FEMA and other government organizations — Andrés organized an on-the-ground movement to feed as many affected individuals as he could. By establishing a network of chefs, volunteers, and food suppliers, the World Central Kitchen was able to serve over 2 million meals in the first month following the hurricane.
In response to the ongoing government shutdown, Andrés opened a kitchen in Washington, D.C. earlier this month, in an effort to feed furloughed workers and their families.
During his cooking demonstration at the Cayman Cookout, Andrés stated that he aims to open 20 more kitchens around the country, should the shutdown continue.
“We feed people of all parties,” Andrés explained. “We opened a kitchen because right now we have workers who are in pain… I’m a guy that believes in building longer tables, not higher walls. I have friends of both parties, and when we are around the table, somehow, everybody knows where to find common ground. And we respect each other, and that’s the way it should be — in America or anywhere around the world. If anybody’s hungry, we will be there.”
At the time of this writing, the ongoing partial government shutdown has reached its 28th day. In the past, Andrés has clashed with President Donald Trump over a lawsuit. As reported by the Washington Post, the celebrity chef refused to open a restaurant in the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., despite being contractually obligated to do so.