According to Bezos, who named CNN contributor Van Jones as the other recipient on 20 July, Andrés and Jones can donate the money to their own charities, or “they can share their wealth,” noting that the choice is “all up to them”.
Bezos announced the recipients of his new initiative after Blue Origin’s successful trip to space on Tuesday, with the Blue Origin CEO stating that the award was created for “leaders who aim high, and who pursue solutions with courage and who always do so with civility”.
In response to the honour, Andrés, the founder of the nonprofit World Central Kitchen, which feeds people affected by natural disasters all over the world, said that the award means the “start of a new chapter for us”.
“This award itself cannot feed the world on its own, but this is the start of a new chapter for us,” he said.
From his philanthropy work to his more than 30 restaurants, this is everything to know about the Spanish-born chef.
Andrés began cooking at 15, with his passion and talent finding him work in a variety of restaurants in Spain.
In 1991, the now-52-year-old moved to the US, where he began to open up restaurants along with his partners Think Food Group, which now own 31 restaurants ranging from fine-dining to food trucks.
However, it is through Andrés’ dedication to helping people that he is most recognisable, after the chef created World Central Kitchen in 2010, which, since its inception, has served meals to people located in disaster zones around the world, including Houston, Texas, the Carolinas, Puerto Rico, and Guatemala.
In 2012, a year before he became a US citizen, and in 2018, Andrés’ efforts saw him named one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People,” while he has also been recognised and awarded “outstanding chef” and “humanitarian of the year” by the James Beard Foundation. In 2019, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, an honour that he said “humbled” him.
Amid the pandemic, which saw the celebrity chef and World Central Kitchen working to feed thousands of people, Andrés also announced a partnership with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s charitable Archewell Foundation, which will see the organisations build a series of Community Relief Centers around the world.
The permanent structures, built with an undisclosed financial commitment from the Archewell foundation, will be activated during times of crisis, such as natural disasters, to “act as quickly-activated service kitchens,” according to a spokesperson for Archewell.
The structures will also be able to provide support to the local communities during non-disaster times, as they will be able to transition into “food distribution hubs, schools, clinics, or safe community gathering spots for families and kids”.
In a statement shared at the time, the activist said he had seen numerous examples of communities coming together, and that he wanted to continue this commitment to helping one another.
“At our root, we believe in one another, in doing what’s right for strangers as much as we do for our friends and family. World Central Kitchen and I, we see a world that’s full of dignity, empathy, and humanity. We believe in the healing power of food, and we like to say wherever there’s a fight so hungry people may eat, we will be there,” he said.
After being awarded the $100m prize by Bezos, Andrés expressed his gratitude to the Amazon CEO and the entire Bezos family.
“I’m so honoured, really grateful for this award and the incredible support from you, Jeff, from the entire Bezos family. World Central Kitchen was born from the simple idea that food has the power to create a better world. A plate of food is a plate of hope, it is the fastest way to rebuild life and communities. And this award itself cannot feed the world on its own, but this is the start of a new chapter for us,” Andrés said. “I always say that I believe in longer tables, not higher walls. So, you know Jeff, let’s go and let’s feed the world.”