Lately, logging onto Facebook has been a bit risky. I never know if I'm going to see something uplifting or an angry political rant. Late yesterday afternoon, uplifting won out as I saw several of my friends in the food and wine world post about the nomination of Chef José Andrés for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Andrés is the founder of World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit created after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti to match up chefs and volunteers with communities that need their culinary skills. Since then, the organization has brought meals to disaster areas in Brazil, Cambodia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Nicaragua, Zambia, and the United States in regions such as Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria and Florida's Panhandle after Hurricane Michael. Most recently celebrity chefs Guy Fieri and Tyler Florence joined Andrés in Butte County, California, where they served Thanksgiving dinner to 15,000 evacuees of the Camp Fire that devastated the community of Paradise.
Chef José Andrés (left) talks with Paradise Police Chief Eric Reinbold his wife, Logan Reinbold, and daughter Hayden during a community Thanksgiving dinner on Nov. 22 at California State University Chico. (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Because of the significant aid Andrés and World Central Kitchen have brought to those in need, Congressman John Delaney from Maryland has nominated the chef for a Nobel Peace Prize.
The Hill reports that in the congressman's nomination, he wrote, "Because of Mr. Andrés's work, millions of people have been fed. This is the most basic human need and Mr. Andrés has proven to be world-class in this essential humanitarian field."
If Andrés is awarded the honor, we won't know until next October, when the prize is announced. The names of nominees are usually kept a secret, and the The Nobel Prize organization doesn't release nominee names and other information for a given year until 50 years have passed. It's unclear whether this public announcement about the nomination will affect the chef's chances of winning, but I believe he deserves the nomination and serious consideration. If my Facebook feed is any indication, so do many of my friends.
Stephen Wilson, culinary consultant for Swiss Chalet Fine Foods (and one of MNN's Reader's Choice 40 chefs under 40 back in 2010), commented about the nomination on social media.
"Let me enlighten you the beauty and power of the simple act of feeding people," wrote Wilson. "This chef, this amazing human being, saw a need in Puerto Rico a year ago and did something about it. He fed people. He did it out of love and altruism. I wish I was more like José Andrés."
Me, too, Stephen. Me, too.