We Fed An Island

We Fed An Island

The True Story of Rebuilding Puerto Rico, One Meal at A Time

Book - 2018
Average Rating:
Rate this:
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.
Publisher: New York :, Ecco, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers,, [2018]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9780062864482
Branch Call Number: 363.3492 Andres
Characteristics: xii, 267 pages :,illustrations, plates ;,24 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
spl_merley May 29, 2019

Andres’ voice is honest and straight-shooting and his passion for food and people is obvious as is his understanding of the intimate relationship between food, culture and social connections. His reflections and criticisms of the disaster relief efforts in Puerto Rico are insightful and invaluable particularly with the increased occurrence of large scale disasters.

May 08, 2019

Jose Andres tells his story of how his nonprofit fed the people of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria and in the process, slams FEMA and the Trump Administration for completely bungling the relief effort. This book is a real eye opener and should be read by every member of Congress. Disaster relief in this country--from the statutes and regulations to the Red Cross--needs a complete overhaul so that people get what they need as quickly as possible. I shudder to think what will happen when the Pacific NW finally gets hit by the big one.


Add a Summary
spl_merley May 29, 2019

Following the devastation hurricane Maria brought to Puerto Rico in 2017, Chef Jose Andres knew that people needed to be fed if they were going to survive and begin to rebuild. Through his non-profit, World Central Kitchen, Andres had some experience helping following natural disasters and by developing a partnership with local chefs in Puerto Rico he was able to coordinate a massive relief effort in the days following Maria including more than 1.5 million fresh meals for Puerto Ricans.

Disaster response involves determining and coordinating priorities for relief efforts - things like restoring electricity, communication, transportation, or providing shelter. Andres would argue that feeding people needs to be one of the top priorities as well. His relief work in Puerto Rico is a powerful testament to what can be achieved when you tap into local networks and talents: through his efforts he was able to provide more meals than the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or the Red Cross. His success at feeding people stands in stark contrast to his observations regarding the failures of political leadership and inefficiencies of NGOs which fostered a culture of inaction. Andres’ account of these failures includes biting criticism of the bureaucracy and profit that surrounds disaster relief. In one instance someone tried to partner with Andres to broker a deal with the NGOs so that Andres could get paid for the food he was making. The partner would receive a cut from the contract; Andres eventually capped that cut at $250,000. In another instance, FEMA offered Andres contracts in which they were overpaying and he would be under-delivering because he could feed people cheaper than what they wanted to pay and he could feed more people than the contract would allow. His advocacy for Puerto Rico during this crisis was not without controversy as he engaged in both a Twitter battle with the President and a press war with FEMA at different points. The exciting and powerful aspect of his story though is how he succeeded at feeding 10,000s of people daily by focusing on local partners and sources, working with local chefs and volunteers, and mobilizing people to feed themselves and their neighbours; illustrating the impact of his belief that if you feed the people real food then you mobilize people to help themselves and those around them.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at my library

To Top