Photo of José Andrés helping California Camp Fire victims by Scott Hoag

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Chef José Andrés is nominated for a 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in disaster relief around the world. He’s touched down in Puerto Rico, Houston, and California following natural disasters, setting up kitchens to feed those in need through the organization he founded, World Central Kitchen.

Now he’s pivoting to opening a similar temporary kitchen in downtown D.C. to feed furloughed government employees who didn’t get their paychecks on Friday. When it opens Wednesday, it will be located inside the chef’s ThinkFoodLab at 701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. The space typically hosts pop-ups for potential ThinkFoodGroup restaurants.

A rotating menu of free sandwiches, soups, and salads will be offered for dine-in or to-go for those with government IDs. The hours will be from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. 

Andrés hopes the proximity of the kitchen to both the U.S. Capitol Building and the White House sends a message. The chef tweeted a video Monday morning, where he relayed the following message:

“World Central Kitchen is always there to respond to any disaster to make sure Americans and people around the world will not go a day without a plate of food. Today we face another type of disaster, emergency in the United States. More than 800,000 federal workers are without a job. Many millions of Americans are going to go through hard times. While we believe that no person should have to go through the pain of not knowing what to feed [their] children. So we’re opening a kitchen at the Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C. right on Pennsylvania Avenue between the Capitol (Congress) and the White House…We’re going to be open for any federal family that needs food. We will have food for you to eat or food for you to take home. But also, I hope it will be a call to action to our senators and congressmen and especially President Trump to make sure we end this moment in the history of America where families are about to go hungry. We should always come together as We The People. As Americans. Bi-partisan. Republicans and Democrats. All Americans.” 

World Central Kitchen will be looking for volunteers to support its mission at the temporary kitchen. Interested parties can contact chefsforfeds@wck.org.

This new initiative is in addition to the daily free sandwiches Andrés’ restaurants began offering from 2 to 5 p.m. when the government shutdown began more than three weeks ago.

This post has been updated to reflect that the kitchen will be open daily instead of weekdays only.