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Celebrity Travel: Go Away With Jose Andres

By Jae-Ha Kim, Tribune Content Agency on

Chef Jose Andres was no novice to helping people who suffered catastrophes. After Hurricanes Sandy and Harvey, he worked with local chefs to help feed the survivors. But those events didn't prepare him for the devastation he saw when he landed in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria hit. Working with his nonprofit World Central Kitchen and local chefs, the Michelin-starred Andres set up shop in the parking lot of a stadium to feed anyone who needed a hot meal. Andres, 48, resides in Bethesda, Maryland, with his wife and children. For more on the restaurateur and philanthropist, check out his website (joseandres.com), Twitter (https://twitter.com/chefjoseandres) and Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/chefjoseandres).

Q. What was your experience like in Puerto Rico?

A. It has been an incredible experience to see the efforts of so many people. So many volunteers came together to feed that island. We were never thinking it would become as big as it did. We only came here to try to help a few thousand people at first and we ended up becoming the biggest restaurant in the world within the first week. It took an incredible amount of dedication and teamwork to accomplish that.

Q. You also visited Haiti to help. Have you been back?

A. I first went to Haiti after the earthquake in 2010 to help feed people. (I was) immediately overcome with the absolute beauty of the country. I have been back many times since and love everything about it -- the people, the natural beauty, the beaches, the scuba diving and, of course, the food! Man, everyone should be going to Haiti. If you go, tell me! I can recommend some amazing dishes. You have to try the djon-djon rice and, of course, a rum sour.

Q. Where do you like to go for a vacation?

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A. I don't have a single favorite vacation destination. There are too many incredible places to visit! But I love to scuba dive, so that's why I really like visiting the Caribbean. I go to Grand Cayman every January to be with my friend Eric Ripert at the Cayman Cookout. I have been discovering the Bahamas as well. We are actually opening a new restaurant there, Fish by José Andrés at The Cove Atlantis. It will be a beautiful restaurant showing off the best of seafood in the Caribbean. The new Bahamian team there is as committed as I am to supporting sustainable fishing practices and the protection of Bahamian coral reefs.

Q. Have you traveled to a place that stood out so much that you felt compelled to incorporate it into your work?

A. Since my first visit to Haiti, I set up a nonprofit organization, World Central Kitchen, to start working on creating smart solutions to hunger and poverty. WCK focuses on education, health and jobs through a variety of projects (like) building school kitchens to feed students, introducing clean cooking technologies to improve women's and children's health and opening cooking schools so that young people can get good jobs in the hospitality industry. It has been amazing to see positive change over the years, and to understand how food really can change the world.

Q. How do your travels inspire the dishes that you create?

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