Chef José Andrés, founder of the food relief organization World Central Kitchen, delivered pizzas to law enforcement officers and first responders after the Capitol insurrection in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday.
The riots forced members of Congress to evacuate, and left five people dead.
Andrés said he wanted to deliver food to police officers and members of the National Guard who were on duty as a mob stormed the U.S. Capitol building due to the 6 p.m. shutdown.
“Hi everybody…what can I say…today was a tragic day for America. I’m here in Bethesda, picking up 120 pizzas to bring to downtown DC to the heroic women & men keeping our city safe tonight,” he said in a tweet.
In a video in the same tweet, Andrés added that he was there with his daughter, Ines. Restaurants were closed because of Mayor Bowser’s citywide emergency curfew, and he wanted to ensure that members of law enforcement had meals.
“Hopefully in a very strange, complicated night, we’re going to make sure that those young men and women, often forgotten, can be taken care of,” he said in the video.
He and his staff also apparently worked late into the night preparing food for first responders.
“I don’t know what else to do right now…so we @WCKitchen just started cooking,” the chef said in another tweet. “Pizzas weren’t enough for everyone…many have been working over 30 hours nonstop. So, we turned Jaleo into WCK kitchen cooking 100s of hot stews on this cold night…plus fried egg sandwiches & fruit!”
Andrés is known globally for his disaster relief work. The World Central Kitchen has prepared millions of meals for survivors of disasters including Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and Hurricane Harvey in Texas. He has also been active during the COVID-19 pandemic. In March, he transformed eight of his restaurants in Washington, D.C. and New York City into community kitchens. And in October, he and his organization also founded Chefs for the Polls, an initiative that recruited local restaurants and food establishments to bring meals to voters waiting in long lines.
“Chef Andrés deserves a Purple Heart for all the good he has done in the world,” states Kathleen Curless of Maryland. It’s people like him that give us hope in the future of this country. I don’t agree with the current list of nominees for the Purple Heart under this administration. I will be writing a letter to Biden to honor Chef Andrés in the future. He deserves it.”
Several people criticized Andrés on Twitter about his choice to feed law enforcement officers at the Capitol.
“You should give it to the maintenance staff in the capital building that had to clean it all up. Not cops that allowed it to happen,” one person wrote to him on Twitter.
“We will try! All around Capitol is secure…building still lock down…but we will try to get food to them,” Andrés responded.
In another Twitter video, he explained his ideals about serving whoever is in need during a crisis.
“I know it’s a lot of controversy and everything, but we feed people,” he said. “We feed anybody and everybody and we activate when there is need, and today police [are keeping] my beautiful Washington, D.C. safe.”
He also mentioned that at the end of the night, he visited the National Archives, which houses historic documents including the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
“It’s late here in Washington DC and we @WCKitchen just finished delivering the last meals,” he wrote on Twitter. “But after today’s attack on our democracy…I couldn’t go home without seeing the National Archives, where our nation’s founding documents live. #WeThePeople.”