World Central Kitchen Activates All-Night Operation After D.C. Capitol Attack

“I don’t know what else to do right now … so we just started cooking,” chef José Andrés’ wrote on Twitter as his organization fed hundreds of first responders

World Central Kitchen Activates All-Night Operation After D.C. Capitol Attack
Chef José Andrés speaks at a National Day of Service and Remembrance event with D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on Sept. 11, 2020. (Paul Morigi/Getty)
Jan 12, 2021

Just a few hours after rioters attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, chef José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen (WCK) was on the scene in Washington, D.C.

The charitable organization sprung into action to feed first responders when D.C. restaurants were forced to close at 6 p.m. when Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a 12-hour curfew for all non-essential workers. Among those responders in need and receiving meals were D.C. Metropolitan Police Department officers, members of the National Guard and Department of Public Works employees. According to Andrés, some had worked nonstop for more than 30 hours, either defending the city or cleaning up after the chaos.

Andrés got to work around 10 p.m. that night, picking up 120 pizzas from a Domino’s in Bethesda, Md., to bring back to the city and deliver to those in need. “Hopefully, on a very strange, complicated night, we’re going to make sure that those young men and women, often forgotten, can be taken care of,” Andrés said in a video posted to Twitter from outside the pizza shop.

Once the pizzas ran out, Andrés and his team headed to his flagship Jaleo location, where they used the kitchen to churn out hundreds of donated meals such as hot stews, pasta and fried-egg sandwiches. The operation ran into the early hours of Thursday, Jan. 7, with Andrés sharing another dispatch on Twitter at 1 a.m. “I know it’s a lot of controversies and everything, but we feed people. We feed anybody and everybody. And we activate when there is need,” he said in the video. He checked in again just after 3 a.m. to report that WCK had delivered its last meals of the night. In total, they’d donated 700 meals on Wednesday, followed by another 900 the next day.

Last week’s operation was one of many by WCK in recent years in response to international crises like the coronavirus pandemic as well as domestic ones like California wildfires.


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