We Fed an Island
FOREWORD BY LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA AND LUIS A. MIRANDA, JR.The true story of how a group of chefs fed hundreds of thousands of hungry Americans after Hurricane Maria and touched the hearts of many more Chef José Andrés arrived in Puerto Rico four days after Hurricane Maria ripped through the island. The economy was destroyed and for most people there was no clean water, no food, no power, no gas, and no way to communicate with the outside world.Andrés addressed the humanitarian crisis the only way he knew how: by feeding people, one hot meal at a time. From serving sancocho with his friend José Enrique at Enrique’s ravaged restaurant in San Juan to eventually cooking 100,000 meals a day at more than a dozen kitchens across the island, Andrés and his team fed hundreds of thousands of people, including with massive paellas made to serve thousands of people alone.. At the same time, they also confronted a crisis with deep roots, as well as the broken and wasteful system that helps keep some of the biggest charities and NGOs in business.Based on Andrés’s insider’s take as well as on meetings, messages, and conversations he had while in Puerto Rico, We Fed an Island movingly describes how a network of community kitchens activated real change and tells an extraordinary story of hope in the face of disasters both natural and man-made, offering suggestions for how to address a crisis like this in the future. Beyond that, a portion of the proceeds from the book will be donated to the Chef Relief Network of World Central Kitchen for efforts in Puerto Rico and beyond.

We Fed an Island Details

TitleWe Fed an Island
Author
ReleaseSep 11th, 2018
PublisherAnthony Bourdain/Ecco
ISBN-139780062864505
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Food and Drink, Food, Autobiography, Memoir, Biography, Audiobook

We Fed an Island Review

  • Carla Bayha
    January 1, 1970
    I'm giving this book 6 stars for the content, and 3.5 for the editing. It's hard to tell if the final copy will fix some of the flow of the book, since what I read is an advanced review copy. I'm hoping that photos and a timeline will be added, as will of course Lin-Manuel Miranda's foreword. This was part of the Anthony Bourdain imprint, so that may have impacted the final editing.That said: this is the most IMPORTANT book that I've read this year. It has the chance to change the "past is prolo I'm giving this book 6 stars for the content, and 3.5 for the editing. It's hard to tell if the final copy will fix some of the flow of the book, since what I read is an advanced review copy. I'm hoping that photos and a timeline will be added, as will of course Lin-Manuel Miranda's foreword. This was part of the Anthony Bourdain imprint, so that may have impacted the final editing.That said: this is the most IMPORTANT book that I've read this year. It has the chance to change the "past is prologue" in a meaningful way for disaster preparedness and response. As the reality of Hurricane Maria's death toll unfolds, which is proving as much as quadruple that of Katrina, we can choose to:--give Puerto Rico full representation in our Senate and House--reject the Armed Forces expensive and almost useless plan of shipping MREs (meal ready equivalents), bottled water (also environmentally catastrophic for islands), and armed soldiers and saying "job well done"--work more closely with the Wal-marts, Home Depots, and other logistically savvy businesses, both now and during future disasters--build a new Red Cross replacement that delivers on the broken promises of the bloated old one--learn from the Chefs for Puerto Rico the importance of real food in times of disaster, and work to build a secular version of what the aging Southern Baptist Convention has done over the past few decades--an organization that will attract younger people to learn how to cook and mobilize for thousands of the needy.--vote for politicians who support real science.
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  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    While it takes a little while to get underway, once Andrés starts talking about the incredible operation he put together in Puerto Rico to not only feed residents after Hurricane Maria, but to help them connect and work together, it's an incredible story of the power of the people. Blisteringly critical of Trump and his administration -- rightfully so -- Andrés details the continuing failure of the government to assist its own citizens in a time of crisis. A fascinating read.
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  • Victoria
    January 1, 1970
    This review was originally posted on Latte Nights Reviews.I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.We Fed an Island is definitely one of my favorite books of 2018. It's written by chef José Andrés, and discusses how he and his nonprofit organization helped feed Puerto Ricans affected by Hurricane Maria. "A plate of food is much more than food. It sends a message that someone far away cares about you; t This review was originally posted on Latte Nights Reviews.I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.We Fed an Island is definitely one of my favorite books of 2018. It's written by chef José Andrés, and discusses how he and his nonprofit organization helped feed Puerto Ricans affected by Hurricane Maria. "A plate of food is much more than food. It sends a message that someone far away cares about you; that you are not on your own." I started following José Andrés on twitter after seeing his tweets all over my timeline after the hurricane. He was sharing what he was doing in Puerto Rico and raising awareness to the struggle he was having trying to get the appropriate funding.Before reading the book, I didn't know he had a nonprofit that helped those affected by disaster. I thought helping during Maria was the first natural disaster he assisted in. I also didn't know he was a famous chef until a couple months ago actually. "I am done with being polite. I am done being politically correct, I am mad as hell because my people's lives are at stake. And we are put one nation. We may be small, but we are huge in dignity and zealous for life." While reading the book, my blood was boiling. Andrés wants to help, he has a great plan, but he needs the government's help to fund this project. It makes sense that food and water is the most important part of helping individuals after a natural disaster like this, but the government and FEMA are so INFURIATING. They didn't seem to care, didn't want to partner with him. He had a great plan, but they would rather work with for profit organizations that didn't even do anything to help rather than a nonprofit. There's one part where someone from FEMA makes a deal with him, to get FEMA to fund Chefs for Puerto Rico, the other guy gets a cut from the meals. It's so heartless that someone would use a tragedy like this to make money, and lots of it.Throughout the book José Andrés is critical of the government and president's response. He's not afraid to critique how the disaster relief was handled. He did this in a way that was respectful, but made sure to get his point across. "We didn't want to fight with the bureaucracy or restructure the government. All we wanted to do was to feed the people. But when you start with a simple goal, you learn you can achieve the impossible. You discover, before long, that you can actually feed an island." It was heartbreaking reading about the devastation, but glad at how José Andrés helped organize. You can see how passionate he is about feeding people that need it. While the government is telling stories about the violence and aggression of people in Puerto Rico, José Andrés tells story after story about all the devastated areas he went to, where communities were helping one another, not being violent like the president and government said they were. It is clear to see that Andrés cares about the people he's helping. Not only does he want to feed them hot food, he's trying to help regrow the economy by sourcing everything locally. "We could create a network of chefs, like Doctors Without Borders, to help in a crisis. Rather than dumping food aid on an already struggling economy, we would source our supplies locally, wherever possible, and help put the farmers and suppliers back in business." This was such a good book. I definitely recommend it. My book has so many underlined paragraphs and so many sticky tabs throughout it. I want to share all the great things I found, but then I would basically be sharing the entire book.This review was originally posted on Latte Nights Reviews.
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  • Joshunda Sanders
    January 1, 1970
    It took me longer than I expected to finish this book, but not because of any flaws with the book, per se. Jose Andres, via his long-time collaborator, tells a riveting and important on the ground narrative about what it took to feed Americans in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria last year when FEMA was not doing an adequate enough job. There's lots of great data -- anecdotal and otherwise -- to support why it's more humane to feed those who are in the thick of crisis hearty food like sancocho, It took me longer than I expected to finish this book, but not because of any flaws with the book, per se. Jose Andres, via his long-time collaborator, tells a riveting and important on the ground narrative about what it took to feed Americans in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria last year when FEMA was not doing an adequate enough job. There's lots of great data -- anecdotal and otherwise -- to support why it's more humane to feed those who are in the thick of crisis hearty food like sancocho, paella or even sandwiches with a savory twist, say, over something that Andres refers to in the book as "plastic" food -- canned meat, or MREs. I appreciated, as a reader, the sincerity with which Andres tries to keep himself from being the center of attention as the central manager of World Central Kitchen, which has been at the heart of serving many thousands of meals to those in dire need of it at least since the earthquake in Haiti in 2010. It's difficult to gauge how much of this is too much in the work, because there's no one really to compare him to. (It's heartbreaking this year to see Anthony Bourdain's name in the corner of the cover of the galley; I don't know if it will appear on the hardcover of the actual book itself -- but he thanks his friend Bourdain at the end, as he does Lin Manuel Miranda -- for lending a tweet to the cause among many other things.) I wanted to give this book five stars because of how meaningful and heroic Andres actions are and how important he is. The story itself is also epic, meaningful and important. I think what I missed most here were the voices of those who were fed -- and not their voices as conveyed to us from the distance of someone busy doing the work that the government didn't do, but more of the voices of those who witnessed him on the Island that he fed assessing his meaning to them to help gauge how history will regard him; not just how we'll regard him on the U.S. mainland (as celebrity) or how he and his collaborator regard him (a guy who saw a need he knew how to fill and quickly) which is likely the same. There's no doubt, given that he fell ill but kept working, that he continued to serve meals and coordinate the delivery of them in spite of a host of bureaucratic obstacles and political adversities, that We Fed An Island is an invaluable guidebook and story. Its main insight or takeaway, however, aside from the gripping narrative and fascinating logistical story that makes up most of its pages, is that organizations like World Central Kitchen should be working in concert with organizations like FEMA to have a more significant impact when another crisis like Hurricane Maria strikes again. What the missing voices here would undoubtedly add would be a portrait of the reason no such coordination has existed so far and why it's not likely to exist anytime soon. That's not the work of memoir, in any event. It's a nice vision to have, and you can appreciate why Andres would have it, given his expertise and now, this additional insight he has. But as soon as you read the line about what needs to happen next, you know it's not likely to happen in this lifetime because it didn't happen after Katrina for African Americans, it didn't happen in Puerto Rico because our current President was entirely clear that they were Americans but they are also brown people connected in his mind to the African Diaspora. That's another book, and that's the promise of another tale entirely, I'm sure.
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  • Lizvette
    January 1, 1970
    Mis respetos y agradecimientos por la labor incondicional que hizo en Puerto Rico. Por el esfuerzo, el coraje y la perseverancia que mantuvo ante la ineptitud y burocracia. En especial, por el amor y esperanza que ofreció a nuestros hermanos en P.R. durante una situación tan caótica.
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  • Donna Hines
    January 1, 1970
    The pain, the confusion, the anger is revealed when a government fails it's own people.We fed an island is more than just the red tape. It's more than just an economically impoverished location that may or may not be truly understood. It's more than just providing food to those who were literally dying in front of them. It's about being selfless not selfish. It's about showing truths rather than falsehoods and inflated pedestal placements by those with grandiose ego's seeking attention. It's abo The pain, the confusion, the anger is revealed when a government fails it's own people.We fed an island is more than just the red tape. It's more than just an economically impoverished location that may or may not be truly understood. It's more than just providing food to those who were literally dying in front of them. It's about being selfless not selfish. It's about showing truths rather than falsehoods and inflated pedestal placements by those with grandiose ego's seeking attention. It's about correcting the wrongs and fixing what's broken to make it more mainstream and free flowing in times of crisis.This is a story of humanity and diversity working together for the good of all involved. It calls us all to become involved in reaching out to improve the current call to arms in our government. It brings hope where hope may have been lost."The only people who deserved a 10 were the volunteers and first responders who were so selfless in their work.""What we did was embrace complexity every single second." "If we had a plan it was to be united to achieve as much as possible"The lack of leadership by our current USA President spoke volumes. The mismanagement of several agencies including FEMA and Red Cross could've been fine tuned. The localized decision making from the ground up is what worked but the oversight was missing. Having worked on the front lines myself after being left bankrupt, homeless, and long term unemployed without income makes you appreciate the small things in life.For many years I was ostracized for not working and raising a family including a med disabled son alone since birth plus I had two other high risk sections and two other high risk pregnancies to come. Now my kids are teens and I'm still doing what I love which is helping others.The point being as I worked as both a recipient and a volunteer I noticed the 'big wigs' showing up for the cameras and the spotlight but the second the news cameras were off they walked away 'that's a wrap'.I can assure you the governmental numbers are not accurate. They are sweetened to look appealing to the general public. Those on the front line doing the work know the truth. We know how citizens of the United States are being forgotten.We know how they are not being provided for nor assisted in grave times of need.I worked with CEO (Center Economic Opportunity) as well as many local nonprofits to feed the impoverished. In fact I'm one of those they talk about -having Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn) tell my story to every member of Congress in the Community Voices Day of Action- See Pg. 38 Here: https://d3b0lhre2rgreb.cloudfront.net...My story was also told by Registered Dietician : Clancy Cash Harrison who was former President of Al Beech Westside Food Bank in Kingston Pa.Plenty of myths concerning food insecurities exists and you can read about my story here "The Shocking Truth About Food Insecurities": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HakCA...You see while the cameras are on it looks great but when the cats away the mice do play.Folks the reality is much different than what our government would like you to believe.I nearly lost my toe nail not once but twice enduring a blood blister because my boots were worn and I had to trample through harsh winter conditions to feed anyone in need. This is not just a Puerto Rican problem this is a worldwide problem. In fact, I remember one year we ran out of Thanksgiving meals and sent out a truck to bring back more food to feed the last remaining individuals who arrived after hours. This is what can be done if we work together. We were a diverse group and I'll never forget seeing some with disabilities yet they were there standing side by side working hard to help others.I'd do it all over again to help in any capacity I could physically perform, in fact you're welcome to click on my various profile pics to show you the truth of the area Trump visited in campaigning (Wilkes Barre PA) yet in harsh reality is falling apart. I'm currently working full time as an unpaid volunteer with 13 nonprofits while below poverty with a dual masters after leaving abusive spouse. For those who think Wilkes Barre is 'winning' I leave you with this link:https://www.pahomepage.com/news/wilke... It's not about the publicity stunts. We don't work for applause we work for a cause has always been my motto and those I work with and for. It's not about the me, me, me attitude sweeping our nation. I do wish to apologize to our fellow citizens as our government should be doing much more.Remember to vote:We must stay united and not become divided by hate.
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  • Aileen Curfman
    January 1, 1970
    Chef Andres stimulated a massive volunteer effort which provided over 3 million meals to Puerto Ricans in the weeks following Hurricane Maria in 2017. Rather than flying survival rations to the island, he located the things that were needed to prepare food right on the island--kitchens, cooks, and ingredients. He inspired thousands of volunteers, who prepared and delivered the food. For funding, he twisted the arms of the rich and famous who dine in his Michelin-rated restaurants, and he haggled Chef Andres stimulated a massive volunteer effort which provided over 3 million meals to Puerto Ricans in the weeks following Hurricane Maria in 2017. Rather than flying survival rations to the island, he located the things that were needed to prepare food right on the island--kitchens, cooks, and ingredients. He inspired thousands of volunteers, who prepared and delivered the food. For funding, he twisted the arms of the rich and famous who dine in his Michelin-rated restaurants, and he haggled with the bureaucrats at FEMA. He formed surprising partnerships with school cafeteria ladies, food truck operators, and even Homeland Security officers. He explains that chefs must organize and coordinate multiple activities in the midst of chaos, and this makes them especially well suited to work in disaster relief efforts. He discusses how using local resources helped get the local economy back on track, and how at some point disaster relief blends with poverty relief.I could feel his frustration in dealing with government agencies and huge charitable organizations that spend a lot of time talking about the crisis, but not dealing with it effectively. By contrast, his small charity, World Central Kitchen, was not restricted by protocols or customs. Loosely organized but well-coordinated, it could utilize whatever resources were available. Andres describes a pastor who started cooking for the cause, and then asked for support. He says he would not have helped the pastor if he had asked first, but the church was delivering the food people needed, and he folded their project into his cause.Andres gives all the credit to all the people who worked hard to get the meals out, but I believe that he must have a charismatic, larger-than-life personality that inspires people to deliver their very best.
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  • Michaela
    January 1, 1970
    Granted he is biased but the proof is in the pudding as they say. His organization literally did feed an island. U.S. response was pathetic...we sent more resources to Haiti. And FEMA and Red Cross appear more than bogged down with a little red tape. $2.43 billion was spent in Haiti, 93% for NGO staff and supplies. $151 million went missing. $1 billion went to contracts of which only $4.8 million was Haitian suppliers and the Pentagon spent $465 million on its own operations. The return - 4.9 mi Granted he is biased but the proof is in the pudding as they say. His organization literally did feed an island. U.S. response was pathetic...we sent more resources to Haiti. And FEMA and Red Cross appear more than bogged down with a little red tape. $2.43 billion was spent in Haiti, 93% for NGO staff and supplies. $151 million went missing. $1 billion went to contracts of which only $4.8 million was Haitian suppliers and the Pentagon spent $465 million on its own operations. The return - 4.9 million meals over 6 months to an island of 10 million. Oh, and all that food delivered by the Red Cross is really prepared by the Southern Baptists who supply 90% of the hot food delivered by the Red Cross and Salvation Army in any natural disaster in the U.S.And the other meals provided are MRE with no fiber and not meant for long-term consumptionWhat has PR given us? Draftees, sugar, cheap labor, clothing production, pharmaceuticals, and amazing people.40% of their people require foodstamps and they have to be much poorer than mainlanders to qualify. And The Jones Act of 1920 severely penalizes the competitiveness of their ports. Four carriers monopolize shipping and costs are artificially steep.World Central Kitchen and #chefsfor PuertoRico would appear to be a model for how to do aid well.
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  • Nickie
    January 1, 1970
    I liked this book and it inspired me to look into volunteering in Puerto Rico, but the history and round about stories were a little long winded and distracting. Trump acted like an ass throughout the disaster and Andres was quick to point it out. It's been a year and these American citizens still don't all have electricity and basic necessities. It's terrible and not in people's minds any more because it has been a year.
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  • Kerry Williams
    January 1, 1970
    Humanity at its best ( and worst )Heartbreaking yet inspiring story of the power of a good meal during a dreadful crisis. Chef Jose ignored the word NO and fed 3 million meals with an army of volunteers. Whilst the NGO’s like Red Cross and government bodies like FEMA did so very little. In America . NOT a third world country, AMERICA ! If Jose could use his experience to retrain not for profits , imagine what a difference it would make. Eye opening.
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  • Pat
    January 1, 1970
    A thoughtful description of the work accomplished by Andres and the thousands of chefs and volunteers who jumped in to feed the AMERICANS in Puerto Rico after hurricane Maria. Also an intelligent meditation on disaster relief and as climate disasters increase, the need to rethink how we address urgent human needs.
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  • Lorraine Sulick-Morecraft
    January 1, 1970
    Brilliant! Chef Jose’ and his team knows how to warm the souls of Hurricane Maria survivors.
  • Micah Grossman
    January 1, 1970
    What a babe.
  • Erika
    January 1, 1970
    Amazing retelling of feeding people without the red tape. Not fake news. Inspiring and infuriating!
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