We Fed an Island: The True Story of Rebuilding Puerto Rico, One Meal at a Time

In This Review

We Fed an Island: The True Story of Rebuilding Puerto Rico, One Meal at a Time
By José Andrés with Richard Wolffe
Anthony Bourdain Books, 2018
288 pp.
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This book tells the inspiring story of the rapid response by Andrés, a celebrity chef and restaurateur, to the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. Although it isn’t a full-blown business school case study, it illustrates Andrés’ preferred model of social enterprise. He argues that those attempting to feed large populations should use professional supply-chain management, source ingredients locally, and hire expert chefs to prepare nutritious, high-calorie meals (in Puerto Rico, meat-and-vegetable stew, chicken-and-rice paella, and ham-and-cheese sandwiches). Andrés employed 20,000 volunteers across 24 kitchens, relying on seven local food trucks for distribution. Yet the book is more than the story of Andrés’ heroic efforts to feed Puerto Rico. It also offers a forceful indictment of the actions of the Trump administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as well as those of various nongovernmental organizations. Andrés accuses U.S. President Donald Trump and his public relations team of carrying out blatantly misleading celebrations of the government’s grossly inadequate relief efforts and of cronyism in awarding FEMA contracts.

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