July 4, 2022

Politics and Commentary News Aggregator

José Andrés Feeds Ron Howard, Then Feeds Him Some More

4 min read

Ron Howard was famished when he met the chef José Andrés on the High Line the other morning. “Are we eating at this place of yours?” Howard asked, as Andrés came barrelling over, a little bleary from travelling but revving up to his standard tempo of volubility. He steered Howard down some stairs and across Thirtieth Street to his restaurant, Mercado Little Spain.

It was still closed, so Andrés hammered on the door with the assurance of a man who owns the place. A staffer opened up, and Andrés guided his guest to a booth.“You want eggs?” he asked.

Sitting down, he said, “It’s been a complicated seventy days.” Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, Andrés—who is built like a bull, with a trim white beard and mirthful eyes—has been on the ground in the region with his relief organization, World Central Kitchen, serving meals to people affected by the war. But a previous commitment meant that he had to commute from the war zone to Spain, where he was making a TV show. “I’m an expert on in-and-out-of-Ukraine,” he said. “Nobody crosses the border quicker.”

Food arrived: platters of eggs and pisto (an earthy tomato stew), sliced Manchego, Catalan tomato bread, slivers of Ibérico ham. “The ultimate ham,” Andrés said. Howard, who is rail thin, with a resting face that projects a boyish geniality, seemed delighted with the spread. But Andrés assured him, “Is more coming.”

Howard met Andrés six or seven years ago. He said that he was taken with the chef’s charisma, and also fascinated by his expanding efforts with World Central Kitchen. He was struck by the speed with which Andrés and his collaborators could parachute into a place after a flood or an earthquake and start serving hot meals. “They’re built almost like a fire department,” he said. A colleague had suggested to him that Andrés should win the Nobel Peace Prize. Howard wanted to make a documentary about the chef’s philanthropy. Andrés was skeptical at first. His relief work requires speed and autonomy (“The war in Ukraine started February 24th,” he said. “On the twenty-fifth, we were serving meals”); a camera crew would slow him down. But as he got to know Howard he softened. “A lunch here, a dinner there, a glass of wine under the moon,” Andrés recalled, adding, “How can you not like Ron Howard?”

Howard, who has directed more than thirty movies, sees some affinities between filmmaking and the work that Andrés does, even if the stakes are lower in Hollywood. “I love collaborators. So does he,” Howard said. “He wants to work with people and build on their energy.” In the documentary, called “We Feed People,” which premières on Disney+, on May 27th, Howard captures Andrés’s ability to step off a plane into chaos, find some resourceful locals, and organize them into a relief army. “Every restaurant in the world, they’re part of World Central Kitchen,” Andrés said. “They just don’t know it.”

As filming began, Howard learned that several of Andrés’s collaborators from the earliest days—in Haiti, after the 2010 earthquake—had been chronicling everything on video. “They had so much great footage,” he said. The spirit of friendly collaboration was infectious. When Howard’s crew arrived in the Navajo Nation to document Andrés’s Covid-relief efforts, they found themselves distributing truckloads of supplies rather than filming.

Mercado’s staff began raising the garage-style doors, and sunlight and customers streamed in. More food arrived: sandwiches of smoked salmon and scrambled egg. Andrés is an irrepressible raconteur, and he’s always moving when he talks. He jabs you in the arm to make sure he has your attention; he lifts the top from your salmon sandwich and stuffs in some Ibérico and Manchego, because he feels strongly that it tastes better that way. Each time a plate hit the table, he said, “Is more coming.”

On his phone, he showed Howard a map of the Ukraine operation. “We are doing three hundred and fifty to four hundred thousand meals a day,” he said. W.C.K. has spread into eight countries, to contend with the widening outflow of refugees. By its count, twenty million meals have been served since February. He pulled up a photo of a food truck he’d commandeered: “It was secondhand, parked in Kyiv, a food truck nobody was using.” After some repairs, the truck was churning out meals. “We are machines for that shit,” he said.

What impressed Howard most was the spirit of volunteerism on the ground, even from those whose lives had been devastated. “It’s very therapeutic for people to activate,” he said. “But they need structure. They need somebody to say, ‘Hey, we could use some help.’ ” A plate of xuixo (fried cream-filled croissants) arrived, and a round of ensaïmada, a Majorcan sweet bread. Howard asked Andrés about a potato dish that he had encountered while scouting “In the Heart of the Sea,” in the Canary Islands.

Papas arrugadas,” Andrés said, and flagged down his chef, to see if the restaurant had any. No dice.

“That’s O.K.!” Howard said, relieved. “I’m full.” ♦

Patrick Radden Keefe
2022-05-16 06:00:00

All news and articles are copyrighted to the respective authors and/or News Broadcasters. LC is an independent Online News Aggregator


Read more from original source here…

Leave a Reply

Copyright © All rights reserved. | Newsphere by AF themes.