Chef José Andrés delivered food to law enforcement officers and first responders amid the riots in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday.
Andrés, founder of the food relief organization World Central Kitchen, said he delivered 120 pizzas to police officers and members of the National Guard who were on duty as a mob stormed the U.S. Capitol building. The riots forced members of Congress to evacuate, and left four people dead.
“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. He said that restaurants were closed because of the 6 p.m. 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!"
Nate Mook, the CEO of World Central Kitchen, tweeted a photo of Andrés cooking.
“1am and @chefjoseandres is frying up eggs for sandwiches,” he said. "The @WCKitchen team also prepared vermicelli pasta with sausage, potato and vegetables for everyone working through the night here in DC following today’s mob insurrection.”
Andrés is known for his disaster relief work. The World Central Kitchen has prepared millions of meals for survivors of disasters around the world, 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.
On Wednesday, the chef and restaurateur responded to criticism 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 philosophy about feeding whoever is in need during a crisis.
“I know it’s a lot of controversies 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 revealed 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."