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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A well-known chef is getting new attention for his efforts to help the people of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.
CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo caught up with Chef José Andrés at one of his two local restaurants.
“I’m so happy to be back home. I arrived 64 minutes ago and look at the first person I sit down with, who else?!” said Andrés, directing his attention to Petrillo.
Petrillo said she was honored and thrilled to be Andrés’ first interview at his Bazaar Mar restaurant at the SLS Hotel in Miami.
The James Beard award-winning Spanish-born chef is back in town for a quick event. He serves as ambassador to Olives of Spain’s “Have an Olive a Day” campaign.
“The truth is olive oil and olives run through the veins of Spain, and is part of who we are,” said Andrés.
Recently, Andrés has made more than a few headlines on his Herculean efforts in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. He arrived on the island just a few days after the storm and has been sharing videos on his Instagram.
“I arrived early on Monday with the intention to stay a few days, make a few meals like I did before with my friends in Houston, like I did in Haiti before,” he said. “Wednesday, I realized that problems there were much bigger than I realized.”
He created, with the help of other volunteers, at total of 20 kitchens throughout the island – making everything from sandwiches to paella.
“We were able to get the chefs and teams to feed the people. In the first two and half weeks, we were feeding over 150,000 people a day,” he said.
As of now, 2.7 million meals have been given out.
Petrillo asked the chef how he balances Tuesday night’s $325 a person dinner to what he’s been doing in Puerto Rico for almost two months.
“I think you give the same effort when you are feeding people a humble meal in a moment of need and feeding people in a celebratory occasion,” he said. “But I’ve always said I love to feed the few but even more, I love to feed the many.”