November 22, 2019
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>>Carla Hayden: Good afternoon. What a wonderful day this has
been, and there’s even more. We’re going until 8:00 tonight,
so thank you for being here. I hope you’re having a
wonderful day, and for those of you following us online
and streaming online, I’m Carla Hayden, the Librarian
of Congress, and this is one of my most favorite, as
you can imagine, times. And our next author is not
only a local celebrity. He is also an international one. Chef Jose Andres
is as well known for the many extraordinary
restaurants he runs as he is for his humanitarian efforts. In fact, he will
be leaving directly after this program
to go help others. So he’s backstage
signing books right now, because if he doesn’t
catch the plane, he won’t be able to get there. You probably know that following
the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Chef Andres formed the
World Central Kitchen to feed the distressed
island nation, and then, after Hurricane Maria
struck Puerto Rico in 2017, he once again answered the
call for relief efforts by providing millions
of meals with his team of chefs and volunteers. [ Applause ] His efforts and his experiences
are recounted in his book, “We Fed an Island,
the True Story of Rebuilding Puerto
Rico One Meal at a Time.” Jose Andres and his
team have fed people in the Dominican Republic,
Nicaragua, Zambia, Peru, Colombia, and Cambodia. He’s been named one of “Time Magazine’s” 100
Most Influential People, and awarded Outstanding Chef
and Humanitarian of the Years by the James Beard Foundation. Jose Andres came to America
in 1991 when he landed in New York City, and he’s
since gone on to cook in some of the world’s finest
restaurants. And now, he has more than
30 award-winning eateries to his credit. And Washington, D.C.
is very fortunate that he calls this
area his home. I think we should
applaud for that one. [ Applause ] His restaurants range
from food trucks to a two-Michelin-star mini-bar
restaurant, which featured — I’m just getting hungry
reading this [laughter] — featuring a tasting menu
of innovative preparations that push the limits of
what is possible with food. And he will be discussing
his new cookbook, “Vegetables Unleashed,” designed
to transform how we think about and eat vegetables, including
Brussels sprouts [laughter]. He will be joined in
conversation by the queen of talk radio, Ms. Diane Rehm. [ Applause ] She is a native Washingtonian
who began her radio career as a volunteer for WAMU in 1973. [ Applause ] And just six years later, she began hosting the
morning talk show, and it was later renamed “The
Diane Rehm Show,” which came to attract an audience of more
than 2.8 million listeners. And I have to tell
you, I was one of them. The final broadcast of the
show was on December 2016, and her show lives
on as a podcast, however, called “On My Mind.” So please welcome
Chef Jose Andres. We can all say it
together — and Diane Rehm. [ Applause ]>>Diane Rehm: What
a welcome for you.>>Jose Andres: Well,
deservedly so [laughter]. Think — I think,
let me finish — they gave you even a better
one, because you know one thing? I’m very excited to be here,
besides being with you all, is to be next to this amazing
person, this amazing woman that so many years — they
made us all smarter, caring, understand what’s
going on in the world. Can we give her another
big round of applause, to Diane Rehm? [ Applause ]>>Diane Rehm: Thank you. You’ve probably already
heard that Jose is not going to additionally sign books, because he is taking off
immediately after this is over to fly to Florida. Where else? Really — [ Applause ] — so, Jose, here we
are, nearly two years after the hurricane
in Puerto Rico. You went there. You did as much as you could. They are still recovering. What do you think of that?>>Jose Andres: Well,
listen, when a hurricane like Maria happens,
you need to understand that destruction is going to
be so great that it’s going to take a long time to recover. If we remember Katrina — and this happened
already so many years ago. I think yesterday was the
unfortunate anniversary. I think we’re talking
already, what, 10 years? Still, they are recovering
in many parts of New Orleans, and this is only
telling me one thing — that I have no doubt that America is the most
amazing country my wife and I — we could join as immigrants
when we came over 25 years ago. Because I learned that when
America comes together, and they put aside petty
fights, and parties, and political parties, and
Republicans versus Democrats, and we only bring the best heart
of every single American people, we can recover out of anything. But we need to leave
the politics out of it. [ Applause ] And that’s it. At the same time I’m saying
I want to leave the politics out of it, certain
things cannot happen. I cannot have my president
use almost finger pointing to Puerto Rico when a hurricane
is about to hit the island. That’s not the moment to do it. [ Applause ] And that’s what we
have leaders for — to bring all of us together,
even people that think different than us, people that don’t see
about the issues in the same way as us, but at the end,
genuinely, we all agree more on things than we disagree. That we, the people, is
stronger than anybody, that we cannot break that bond. So that’s what I believe about
Puerto Rico and reconstruction. I know I didn’t answer you
the — the answer straight up, and I made it my own
answer [laughter]. But, Diane –>>Diane Rehm: I don’t need –>>Jose Andres: — you
know, we are in Washington. You know we are in Washington, and politicians never
answer anything after they are asked [laughter].>>Diane Rehm: —
oh, but you do.>>Jose Andres: And
even cook like me — we just learn the bad ways,
and I apologize for it.>>Diane Rehm: Now, the one
thing you did not say — when you got here to
the United States, how much money did you
have in your pocket?>>Jose Andres: I arrived
two times to United States.>>Diane Rehm: Okay, how
about the first time?>>Jose Andres: The first time,
I was in the Spanish navy, and I came sailing in
a tall ship, four mast. And I was very lucky to
serve in the Spanish navy, and we went around the world. And I came Pensacola,
and I still — I remember the day I arrived
to New York with Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. And I was eight days in New
York, and that day, I had — you know, I didn’t need much
money, because I was young, and I had food in the ship. And — but the second
time probably is the one that counts, when
I came to stay. In case there’s any
immigration officer in the room, I came legally [laughter]. Even I had few hiccups later on. And then, I had — yeah, I had
$50, but, you know, I came more or less with the promise of a
job, with the promise of a bed. And that made my life very easy. That’s why, as an immigrant
sometimes, I do believe in the moment we are living. I want to send this clear
message to everybody. Immigration is not a
problem for America to solve. It’s an opportunity
for America to seize. We need to be asking
our Congress to pass immigration reform. We had President
Bush try to do it. We had Republicans trying to do
it, Democrats trying to do it, but at the end, some forces
don’t want that to happen. Why? That’s what we need
to be asking ourselves. So, yeah, that’s my answer about
how much money I got when I came to New York [laughter].>>Diane Rehm: I told
you, I’m not going to need to say very much here
this morning [laughter]. So when Hurricane Maria
erupted two years ago, you chose to go directly
down there, as you are going
to Florida today. Tell me why you felt
you had to go do that.>>Jose Andres: Well, we
saw the hurricane was going to be a total destruction,
and I felt the urge to go. It’s not the first
time I did it. I’ve been doing this
for many years before. What happened in Puerto
Rico was something like — you know, everybody was aware. When I go to hurricanes, I don’t
do press releases, you know? I just ask my wife for help with putting together some
clothes, and that’s it. And I show up, and
begin feeding people. For me, the inspiration probably
was moving into Washington, D.C. on 7th and E, and I
guarantee you almost none of you have done that. One of the most important
buildings that you should visit in this city is on
7th and E. Yes, ma’am, the Clara Barton
Missing Soldiers Office. That woman, with nothing — she was able to single-handed
take care of this many of the wounded of the
Civil War, and because her, American Red Cross was created. When I moved to the city,
my apartment was across her. My mom and my dad were nurses. The idea was very clear
to me that if a person like Clara Barton, with nothing
at her disposal, was able to do so much good for the American
soldiers of both sides, why cooks like me — we cannot
do exactly to put our expertise at the service of others? So really, the first time was in
Haiti, and then we began going to hurricanes all around.>>Diane Rehm: Sure. Sure.>>Jose Andres: Puerto Rico —
when I landed, I told my wife — I landed on a Monday, three
days after Maria hit the island, on probably the second plane
that landed in San Juan. And I told my wife, “I’ll
be back by the weekend,” because we had some friends
visit them from Spain. I still remember calling her
Thursday, three days later, telling her, “I’m not coming
this weekend, and actually, I don’t know when
I’m coming back.” Because the problem — the destruction was bigger than what you even
were watching at home. We had 3.7 million Puerto
Rican Americans in an island without cell signal, without
electricity, without water, because all the water
systems broke down, and on paper, without food. So what a cook can do
is put at the service of others what we know — gather
the food, gather the cooks, find the kitchens,
and start feeding as many people as you can.>>Diane Rehm: So
what did you cook? What were you relying on?>>Jose Andres: So the first
day we landed, as we landed, I sent a What’s App not
knowing if any of my friends in the island were going
to be able to receive it. And when these emergencies
happen, you have to be very clear. You need to give a
very simple message that everybody understands, and so everybody kind
of stick to plan. And the What’s App
message was “I landed. I’ll be at 3:00 on
this location.” And when I arrived to that
location, before that, I had time to be going around to
see if — what was the damage, to see what companies were — to contact the companies
that I knew had food, to start talking
to them directly. And then, when I arrived
there already with some food in my car, all the friends
that I What’s App-ed, they were there, waiting. And we began cooking. On that first day, I think
we did over 1500 meals only. We went from a thousand
meals the first day, and 20 friends, and
one restaurant. We went from thousand meals
a day to 150,000 meals a day. We went from 20 friends
to 25,000 volunteers. We went from one kitchen to 23
kitchens all across the island. At the end, we fed probably
over four million people.>>Diane Rehm: Unbelievable. Unbelievable. [ Applause ] Even that was not
your first hurricane. You went down to Haiti before
you got to Puerto Rico.>>Jose Andres: Yeah. If you buy — if
you buy the book — and I don’t mind to tell you that you should buy it,
because [laughter] –>>Diane Rehm: Of course.>>Jose Andres: — because
100% of the earnings, after paying the writer
and the other things — 100% go towards Andres Kitchen,
and it’ll be a way for you to — [ Applause ] — in the book is a chapter
that we compare American aid to Haiti, Port-Au-Prince
after the earthquake, and our own aid to our own land. And in this chapter, we compare
number of people that were sent, number of helicopters,
number of military personnel, number of meals, all the assets
that were available to us. And if you take a look, you
will see that the response that we gave to Haiti was so
much quicker, so much faster than the response we
gave to Puerto Rico. And I’m very proud as an
American that America did so well in Haiti, helping
the great people of Haiti and the people of
Port-Au-Prince. But as an American,
equally, I was so sad to see that the aid we gave to Puerto
Rico, American territory, was not equal to the
one we gave to Haiti. So the message here is these — the men and women of
FEMA are amazing people. The men and women of our
National Guard are amazing. The men and women
of the many NGOs that helped are astonishing. Everybody should
be clap and honor, because they’re really
good people. But fundamentally — fundamentally, the way FEMA has
been structured is not the best way to be helping
America sometimes anymore.>>Diane Rehm: Why not? What is it that they don’t
do that you are able to do?>>Jose Andres: Because
it’s a super-big corporation that is more handling contracts,
and when you’re hungry, if you have Americans hungry, you cannot start negotiating
a contract with anybody. When we go to California,
and the firemen are hungry, on paper, it’s a contract
between the firefighters and a catering company. But you know what happens
to that catering company? There’s nobody showing up to
work, because they’re trying to save their homes
and save their lives. So you need to think
out of the box. That’s why we cannot
be contracted. We are an NGO. We go and we help when
nobody’s there to help. So I do believe we need —
hopefully, the next Democrat or Republican administration — because I don’t think this
one is up to the task — they should look
— they should — no, but I mean it in a nice way,
in the sense of [laughter] –>>Diane Rehm: In a
nice way [laughter]? [ Applause ]>>– FEMA is there
to support Americans, and most of the time,
they do a great job. But sometimes, they don’t, and they are not
self-critical of themselves. If you hear about what
happened in Puerto Rico — I heard the president that
gave himself and FEMA a 10. You know what? I give myself only a five. Why? Because we fed
four million. We did four million meals,
but I wish we did 40 million, because that’s what was needed. So you cannot give yourself a
high score and not be critical, because if you are not critical, means that nothing
will ever change. And when something happens
in Florida, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, New
York, another hurricane hits, or an earthquake, if the
response is not there, all of you will suffer. And Americans deserve that their
government is there for them in moment of disrepair. That’s why we need to look
at how FEMA is organized, break FEMA into two, and start
making FEMA do a better job in the way they serve Americans.>>Diane Rehm: So
I’d like to talk about what it was you fed them, and sancocho is something
that I’ve read. And I don’t know what’s in it.>>Jose Andres: It’s so funny,
because I think you asked me that before [laughter]. And I don’t understand how I
cannot answer to a question by the great Diane Rehm
[laughter], but my brain is so full of things that
sometimes I forget the — so what we fed the first day
is something called sancocho. Any Puerto Rican in the room? So if it’s Puerto Ricans
in the room, I’m not going to describe what is sancocho, because they will
criticize me — you have no clue what is
in a sancocho [laughter]. It’s like when I do paella,
and in Spain, they criticize me because — this is not a
paella, because in an emergency, you try to do what you
can with what you have. But sancocho is this amazing
stew of pork, and yucca, and corn, and many other
root vegetables, very hearty. And because we had
all of those things, we began making these big pots. And I remember the first
delivery we did was to a hospital that I got
a phone call via Paris, because was the niece of
the director of the hospital that knew I was in San Juan. And I’m like, really? They’re hungry? And we began cooking those
pots, and bringing them to the local hospitals,
because nurses and doctors were
operating without lights. And sometimes, I arrive, and
I saw them with an iPhone when they didn’t
even have generators that they were working. Because they didn’t had
gas, or other issues. So sancocho was the first thing, but very quickly
— what happened? As moment people
knew we were feeding, the phone calls began
getting to us. And when I mean phone
calls, will be messaging. People will show up,
and before we knew, we went in that first week
from thousand meals a day to over 35,000 meals a day
in matter of four days. That’s when I — that’s when I
saw that the problem was bigger, and we had to be moving. So we cooked sancocho. We made pastelon de carne,
which is mashed potatoes with the ground meat,
and we did these layers. We always do these
aluminum trays that is food for 40 people, and they
can go into these — that then allow us to
have six of those trays. So every — equals to 140
to 150 meals, and then, that’s the way we transport the
food, so it’s always healthy, and hot, and everything. We began making arroz con
pollo, chicken and rice, which is also a staple
in Puerto Rico. So all the dishes we
make obviously are based on the ingredients we have our
disposal, but then, we make sure that the local have
what they like. Nothing gives more hope
and more joy to people than to give them something — a plate of food that sends
one message very clearly. We care. Be patient. Things will get better. And when especially the
food is to their liking, then you are bringing joy
into their lives in a moment that they have only chaos. That’s why we work so hard in bringing a good,
humble plate of food. This — this last year,
Diane, we’ve been — this last year alone,
we’ve been in Indonesia. We responded to the
first earthquake, first tsunami, and
second tsunami. We did close to 900,000
meals in Indonesia. The military of Indonesia
began helping us, because they saw
what we were doing. I was myself in Mozambique. We had three kitchens
in Mozambique, in Beira, a beautiful town in the
north of the country. We’ve been in — last
month, I was in Venezuela. We’re in Colombia. We are in the border,
in El Paso. We’ve been over nine,
10 month in Tijuana. So everywhere we go, we don’t
impose what we like to eat. We listen to the locals,
to what they want to eat.>>Diane Rehm: And what was the
government offering in the way of food in Puerto Rico?>>Jose Andres: [Laughter]
That’s a longer conversation [laughter]. I’m guessing it’s a
lot of military here, and I’m amazed what — I have many men and women
friends in the military. And when they go to
battle, combat zones, they have what they
call the MREs, that — Meals Ready to Eat, but
if you go and search MRE, is many different names that
they use the M there, and the E. And it’s too many kids
in the audience for me to be telling you [laughter]. But MREs are brilliant. You can buy an MRE. You can put it in the
middle of the highway. You come back 50 years later, and the MRE is still
perfect [laughter]. No, no, we should
clap to our intellect. We’ve been able, as humans,
to create something like this. When we are looking for
alien life on Jupiter, I’m like, what the fuck? We have alien life [laughter]
— we have alien life here. We made it. We’ve made it. I mean, you know, an
MRE is like a burger from a fast food chain I’m not
going to name, that you put it in the middle of the road, and
you come back 50 years later, and it’s still there [laughter]. And yes, I eat it too, but
it’s for you to understand. So that’s the way we do it, and let me tell you what
is the problem with this. Four MREs are very
bulky, full of calories — great, but four MREs occupy
the space of 40 meals. So let’s follow out
this trend now. If you’re trying
to feed an island, let’s say some million people. Do you know the amount
of space you need only to provide one MRE a day
for a million people? You need hundreds, if not
thousands of helicopters. You need ships by the hundreds. You need planes by the hundreds. The space you occupy is so big. It’s okay for one or two days. It’s not something sustainable. Another thing happens. When we deliver food, we deliver
them in person and by foot. That’s why we had
25,000 volunteers, because we are not cooks. We are distribution centers. But what happens? We show up every day. What happens with the MREs? They go, and they drop
them, and they leave. But when you show up every day,
you begin gathering information. You begin gathering know-how. You start knowing
what people need. All of a sudden, Diane, we know that some people have health
issues with some foods, or religious issues
with some foods. We start accommodating
to their needs. All of a sudden,
somebody tell us, “Jose, my grandfather is going to die, because he doesn’t
have a generator. So his breathing
machine is not working.” We are able to bring
them the generator. We need this medicine for
this person that is sick. We bring that medicine. All of a sudden, what we
do is more than feeding. What we’re doing is having
a real, direct contact with neighborhoods and
people that they are cut off from the response, and we
make them feel that they — we care for them,
and we connect them, and bring them back to reality. And we try to make sure that
they have everything they need. That’s why it’s so
important, what we do. It’s beyond a plate of hot food. We show up every
day until we believe that the problem is solved,
and then, slowly, we move out. With — MREs, we drop it, we go,
and we forget about the people. Nobody knows anything
else about that community. This is not the way to
be providing the relief. We need to start providing
relief following up. [ Applause ]>>Diane Rehm: So, Jose, from
what you have just described, it sounds to me as though you
have a plan to feed the world.>>Jose Andres: I —
this one is a tough one for a lot of reasons, right? Let’s say Washington,
D.C. We don’t need to go any further away, and
in a city of 600,000 people — I think we are 670
— oh, no, sorry, we are about to reach 700. It’s a city that
is walk distance from Congress and the Senate. Let’s say every one of
you is a congressman, and everybody of
you is a senator. Obviously, you want to be
taking care of your districts, and your states,
as it should be. But to me, it’s very amazing
that we have this experiment of democracy happen right
here in Washington, D.C., so close from Congress, where many of the things should
be happening here as a test, to make sure that no veteran
will be in the streets of Washington without
home and hungry.>>Diane Rehm: Absolutely.>>Jose Andres: How
it is possible that we have veterans
coming back, and one day, they end in the street,
for whatever reason? As a country, we
cannot allow that. So yes, I want to — I don’t
mind to sound like a fool, or to say that, yes, I have
a plan to feed the world. But to me, sometimes,
I need to make sure that my own city doesn’t
have that problem. Because sometimes, we are
trying to resolve issues in the other parts of the world, and we don’t even resolve the
issues right here at home. The issue is that we cannot
forget the rest of the world. We need to make sure that
nobody’s hungry in America, and so, we need to make sure
that nobody’s hungry overseas. Why? All this border problem
with immigrants coming and knocking on the door —
let me tell you, I don’t care if you are Republican
or Democrat. This is going to happen forever. I know what walls
— I’m Spanish. You know how many walls we built
in Spain over the centuries? You know how many
castles we have? Let me tell you — when you
have people that are hungry, is no wall that will
defend you about that. Because if you are a mother,
and your children are hungry, you’re going to do whatever it
takes to feed those children. So let me tell you what
world we should build. I believe that the America,
and the world I want to leave to my daughters, is one that
they are going to be safe, not by me building a
wall to protect them, but by me building a better
world that gives them the option to enjoy that beautiful
world of ours. If we build walls of inclusion
versus walls of exclusion, if we build walls that are soup
kitchens, and universities, and schools, and hospitals, and
employment job, and factories, all of a sudden, all
these people south of the border —
they are doing well. They are doing okay. They don’t have to leave
their homes looking for a better world — is the
destiny and the responsibility of the richer countries
of the world to take care of the poorer countries
of the world. If we like it or not, it’s
the right thing to do. [ Applause ]>>Diane Rehm: So let’s —
let’s talk about your new book. This is a book about
vegetables [laughter]. And it’s a book with fabulous
recipes of vegetables. Why vegetables, what you
call “Vegetables Unleashed”?>>Jose Andres: I mean, Diane,
why do you think they laugh when you introduce
the book [laughter]? I don’t look like a chef
that can write a book about vegetables [laughter]? It’s because my belly
[laughter]? I have friends that they are
— they have a belly like mine, and they only eat
vegetables [laughter]. I did this book for a simple
reason — I love vegetables, and believe me, I know some
of you are saying, “Sure, he’s going to say
that, because he wants to sell his book [laughter].” My wife is right here. [ Applause ] Believe me, she’s
not here because me. She’s here because she
loves you [laughter]. She told me that very clear,
because she never comes to see me to anything
[laughter]. Like, why are you coming today? I’m like, because
Diane is there. Thank you.>>Diane Rehm: So sweet.>>Jose Andres: And many of
the recipes in this book are of my wife, and the recipes of
my wife were from her mother, and from her grandmother. Not all the recipes are Spanish. There’s many recipes inspired
in many parts of the world, including the United States,
but I do believe we need to start taking vegetables
more seriously. You know, I have a fast food
restaurant called Beefsteak — Beefsteak.>>Diane Rehm: Yeah,
the beefsteak sandwich.>>Jose Andres: And the
beefsteak was my way to put — let’s call the money
where the mouth is, because sometimes we all talk
about “let’s change the world.” But then usually it stays
in a conference room. Everybody claps like seals after you’re giving a
sardine, but then you go home. Everybody forgets. You look like cool, but
you’ve done nothing. So I did this fast food
restaurant to prove that we can have a restaurant,
99% vegetables, feeding America with vegetables in the right
way, helping the local farmers, and that’s what it is. That’s why the book
follow through. What if one day we stop
eating so much meat, and we start bringing more
vegetables into our diets? Do you know that, today, we can
be talking about our farmers in rural America — they
seem not to make it, and rural America
is getting emptier. Or they go, and they — for
somebody that promises the moon, and then obviously
doesn’t deliver. Come on, you can
take it any way — just a reading of the situation. We need to make sure that we
take care of those people, that they keep producing
the vegetables that we need, that we keep paying
them what they deserve. And let me tell you one thing. You’re Republican or Democrat — until we don’t change
the Farm Bill, America will be getting
poorer, fatter, unhealthier, and all is because our
congressman and senators from both parties are
supporting a Farm Bill that doesn’t try to
make us healthier. That’s where I did
this cookbook. It’s like a Trojan horse.>>Diane Rehm: So — [ Applause ] — tell them about the
beefsteak sandwich.>>Jose Andres: Well,
I love tomatoes. Only two people love tomatoes? [ Laughter ] Grange tomatoes — do
you know Grange tomatoes? G-R — Lamar Alexander,
you know –>>Diane Rehm: Lamar Alexander?>>Jose Andres: — the senator?>>Diane Rehm: Yes.>>Jose Andres: He brought me from his estate the Grange
tomatoes, himself, personally. Probably one of the
best tomatoes in the history of America.>>Diane Rehm: Really? What color?>>Jose Andres: Reddish,
pinkish, and right there, I got bread, some
mayonnaise, some salt, even little bit more
olive oil, a big, thick piece of the tomato,
the bread toasted — but if you don’t like
it toasted, it’s fine. And I’m going to like
you anyway [laughter]. Don’t tell me, but I’m going
to like you [laughter]. And when you bring
that sandwich –>>Diane Rehm: Don’t
forget the avocado.>>Jose Andres: —
and did I had avocado?>>Diane Rehm: Yes.>>Jose Andres: Man [laughter]. My people — I give them
too much freedom [laughter]. Yeah. Okay, on that
particular — this recipe book is like
the bills in Congress, that they start being something, and they end being
something else [laughter]. Avocado — if you have avocado,
but if they build a wall, you have no avocado, people. [ Laughter and Applause ] Well, you — you
will have guacamole, because we’ll have people on the other side throwing
the avocados over [laughter]. We’ll have retired baseball
players catching them, and if they don’t catch
them, they’ll smash. And you’ll have immediate
avocado free of charge. Maybe it’s a way to
pay for the wall. Who knows [laughter]? But that recipe — I love
simplicity sometimes, more often than not — the
mayo, the tomato, the bread. You bring it into your mouth. The crunchiness of that
perfectly toasted bread that you bought in
the farmer’s market, and you spent your entire
week’s savings — that — that beautiful mayonnaise
that is, like, telling you — oh, my God, this mayonnaise — almost I should use it
as a cream [laughter]. And this juicy tomato that, in
the moment your teeth penetrate into the tomato, the
tomato is always feeling that it’s cold, but juicy. And your mouth starts
going in — like, you find between your
teeth the little seeds, and all the juices begin
flowing around your mouth. Your tongue is telling
you, “What’s going on?” And you didn’t finish
the first bite, and you’re already
doing the second. You are like an animal. [ Laughter and Applause ]>>Diane Rehm: There’s
always a “but.” You have written a
book about vegetables with wonderful recipes, but
think about the number of people in this country, in this
city, who do not have access to good vegetables,
to even anything in the way of good vegetables.>>Jose Andres: Listen,
I think in Washington, we’re really lucky,
because Virginia, Maryland, plus the proximity
of Pennsylvania. The farmland is very plentiful,
and they really work hard. And they — I mean,
how many of you go to the farmer’s markets
during the week? Good people. Please, don’t kick
out anybody else, the ones didn’t raise
their hand. Keep them inside. That’s okay. It’s nothing like going
to farmer’s market, and really, it’s expensive. But you need to understand that
somehow it’s expensive for a lot of reasons, that we — that’s why I was talking
about the Farm Bill before. But the bounty of
produce we have around us is just astonishing. And I’m only asking everybody
more often than not — just do the effort to go. Do the effort to learn. Sometimes, you’re going
to find ingredients that you never imagined
were so good. And believe me, don’t
buy with your eyes. Just buy with your tongue —
that you see a beautiful peach and a beautiful tomato in a supermarket doesn’t mean
it’s a tasty tomato, a tasty — sometimes the ugly
vegetables are the best ones. Be nice to them [laughter]. They have feelings. They have emotions [laughter]. It’s terrible when they put
them in this box of cheaper, because they don’t look nice. You should give them your love
by bringing them into your home, by bringing them into your life,
and we should behave equally with every single other
human being next to us.>>Diane Rehm: So why is it that
too often a head of broccoli, or a head of cauliflower is
more expensive than a hamburger? And so, people buy
the hamburger.>>Jose Andres: Let’s go
back to the Farm Bill, Diane. It’s fascinating. When I say America equals every
other country in the world, it’s a lot of powers-to-be
that they want to us to eat the way we eat. But if you go, and you look
to the USDA, the Department of Agriculture, and you go and
you put what the Department of Agriculture want us to eat
— and now, it’s something — in the old days, used to be
the pyramid, the food pyramid.>>Diane Rehm: Of course.>>Jose Andres: I guess
there were more Egyptians in the old days [laughter]. Now they are more
interplanetary. Now is the My Plate,
and is round, and I don’t know
why they change it. But that’s fine. If you look what the USDA tell
us on My Plate, it tells you that we should be eating 60,
70% of fruits and vegetables. We should all be clapping
for our government, saying they care about us. They want us better. They want us healthy. They want an America that is
invincible, but when you go to the Farm Bill, and you see
how much money the government puts towards subsidies to eat
those vegetables, it’s like 1, 2% of the entire Farm Bill. So they want us to
eat more vegetables. They are telling us 70%, but
the government doesn’t support with the money to
make sure that — I have no problem with
the big corn farmers, the big wheat farmers, and
everybody else to make money. I’m a business guy. I want everybody to make money, but the subsidies only help
the super-big companies. Our little farmers don’t
receive the same subsidies. I’m only asking why we don’t
level down the playing field. If we give subsidies to
the big organizations, let’s give also the same
subsidies to the little farmers. This way, broccoli and cauliflower will
be as cheap as beef. What beef has to do with it? Because corn is subsidized. It’s so cheap that you
can be feeding with grains that is subsidized by
all of us so that meat — and the ground meat is cheaper than the broccoli
and the cauliflower. I love meat. I didn’t achieve this body with
cauliflower alone [laughter]. But I want to even
out the level field. If we do that, America
will be healthier. Our farmers in rural
America will be better. The communities will raise up. We create more employment
in rural America. America will have enough
soldiers to join the military that right now we can’t,
because we don’t have enough men and women healthy enough
to be — join our ranks. A whole bunch of
problems will go away, and we’ll only have a beautiful
America moving forward, one plate of vegetables
at a time.>>Diane Rehm: All right. So I have a beautiful
head of cauliflower in my refrigerator now. Give me a wonderful, easy, fast
recipe to cook that tonight.>>Jose Andres: Great. Everybody has a grater at home?>>Diane Rehm: A grater?>>Jose Andres: A grater?>>Diane Rehm: Yes.>>Jose Andres: A grater?>>Diane Rehm: Yes.>>Jose Andres: Raise
your hands.>>Diane Rehm: Everybody –>>Jose Andres: Everybody
has a grater. Okay. If you don’t
have a grater, you go to your neighborhood. You say, “Can you
give me a grater?” If you have an accent like me, write it in a piece
of paper [laughter]. And I will get the cauliflower, and I will grate
the cauliflower. And I will make it into little
pieces, like it was a couscous. Are you with me?>>Diane Rehm: — yeah.>>Jose Andres: Then —
okay, I’m from Spain, and I don’t like to be using
ingredients of other countries like Italy [laughter]. But you should have a pasta
— not very big pasta, is a little pasta, like orzo. Orzo?>>Diane Rehm: Orzo.>>Jose Andres: Orzo, O-R-Z-O.>>Diane Rehm: Right.>>Jose Andres: And,
okay, are you with me?>>Diane Rehm: Yeah.>>Jose Andres: And then,
some olive oil, but this time, the olive oil has
to be from Spain. If it’s not Spanish, ain’t
going to be good [laughter], and then — all right,
let’s keep going Italy. Maybe balsamic, maybe apple
cider, maybe a local cider — a local vinegar from
Virginia, even better. So we have the cauliflower. We have the pasta. We have the — okay,
cheese — you like cheese? Cheese?>>Diane Rehm: Yes, yes.>>Jose Andres: All right. If you like cheese, you
can buy a dry cheese, because you had this piece
of cheese that has been in your refrigerator for
the last seven years, and is [laughter]
— and is so dry, you should put good
face if you have gas. You should not say, oh,
is a piece of old cheese. You should say, “I’ve
been aging this cheese for the last seven
years,” all right? And then you grate it. So you see, I’m not
giving you anything else. If you like little bit
onion, you can put. If you have some
tomatoes peeled, you can, but let’s go simple. You boil the pasta. You have the grated cauliflower. One minute before you
take the pasta out, you put all that
cauliflower into the water. If you like it raw, just
you leave it outside. Then you strain it. You have the pasta
now, the cauliflower. What’s happening? They are talking to each other. They are excited, because
they are meeting people from another part of the world. They’re like, wow, baby,
where are you from? I’m from Naples, and
you’re from Virginia. Wow, they are chitchatting. They are having a good time. Then you have the
cheese, the olive oil, the balsamic, or the cider. You mix, salt. Maybe you have one of
those spices that has been in your kitchen for
20 years, same thing. You put a good poker face, and
you saw, “This is sesame seeds from 20 years, extra-aged.” Great, fine. You toss everything,
and is warm right now, so you don’t want it too hot. It’s the perfect dish. You see, you need to
be thinking this way. One ingredient, two
ingredients — they start meeting each other. Then you bring somebody else. The conversation goes on. They are happy. If they are happy, the
dish is going to be good. That’s my recipe.>>Diane Rehm: Okay.>>Jose Andres: We’re going to call it the Diane
Rehm cauliflower recipe.>>Diane Rehm: Okay. We have time now for just
a couple of questions. I don’t know where
the microphones are. Right here? Okay, here’s our first question. Go right away.>>Thank you. Thank you, Jose, for bringing
healthy food to the world, and also sustainable
food practices, including promoting local
and seasonal vegetables. So I wanted to ask you — what
recommendations would you give to all the customers out
here on how we can find and promote eco-friendly
restaurants around the world? Thank you.>>Diane Rehm: Eco-friendly
restaurants around the world.>>Jose Andres: Listen,
obviously, you can vote with your plate. Brillat-Savarin, a Frenchman — and I don’t mention
French people in the open [laughter]
— guys, I’m a cook. I mean, it’s a natural
— you know [laughter] — but Brillat-Savarin, in 1926,
he said, “Tell me what you eat, and I’ll tell you who you are. The best way to show who you
are is the way you eat, and — but what I don’t want now to do is start not
patronizing restaurants, because they are all meat, or because they have
plastic straws. The world is changing quick,
and everyone wants to do better. We need, if anything,
to be supportive. Every restaurant wants to
do better food practices. Where we buy, how we
buy, composting — but that’s a conversation,
but is very important that you show up, including
my restaurants that — believe me, I’m not perfect. Twenty years ago, I used
to have shark on my menu. Why? Because in Spain, was a
tradition, and was not problem. I realized the problem. I’m a scuba diver. I support sharks, and
we shouldn’t be — keep eating sharks
anywhere in the world.>>Diane Rehm: Absolutely.>>Jose Andres: Because if not,
they’re going to disappear, and we cannot afford it. I took shark out
of my restaurants. So it takes time for
everybody to be educated, but never use anything — everybody can do
whatever they want, but needs to be educational
process. And this equals to politics. Sometimes, really, if one
restaurant does one thing, one restaurant does
another, all these things — don’t support this guy. Don’t support this restaurant. Don’t support this business. Shit, no, should be other ways,
through democracy, to do this. Everybody can do
whatever they want, but we should do it
in an elegant way. We should do it with
a good dialogue. We should do it with education, and we should do it
listening to each other. So together, we can
keep moving America and the world in
the right course.>>Diane Rehm: Good. Question here?>>So as a — most of my
maternal family’s still on the island, so
I want to thank you for the humanitarian aid that
you provided Puerto Rico. But I also wanted to ask — what’s your favorite
Puerto Rican dish?>>Jose Andres: All right. So many, but asopao, I love. Asopao is a rice dish that
usually is with chicken, but my favorite will
be with lobster. This one is great, but I will
tell everybody to go and Google, and find Jimmy Fallon when
he went to Puerto Rico with Lin-Manuel Miranda and I. And I took him in a tour
there, in Pinones, and there, you’re going to be
learning even more about amazing dishes
of Puerto Rico. So asopao is my favorite,
but go with Jimmy Fallon and take a look at that show. And there, people are
going to even learn more about your beautiful island, which now — I call
it home, too. Thank you.>>Diane Rehm: Good. Question here?>>So we went to Vallejo
yesterday, and it was very good. And it was definitely some of the favorite food I’ve
ever eaten, but I wanted to know what’s your favorite
food in the whole world.>>Jose Andres: My favorite
food in the whole world, without a doubt — and I’m
not patronizing anybody — is when my wife cooks at home.>>Diane Rehm: I knew it. I knew it.>>Jose Andres: And
she’ll tell you — it’s not like it’s her
passion to be cooking. Actually, it’s not, but when
she arrive home from work, or from many weeks — days
or weeks of being away, and she has this plate of
lentils that is the recipe from her mother, nothing
makes me happier than a plate of the lentil stew she
makes with little bit of sherry vinegar on top. And tomorrow, it will
be 24 years anniversary that we’ve been married.>>Diane Rehm: Yay. Yay. [ Applause ]>>Jose Andres: I know. I know I’m not going to be with
you tomorrow, but that’s the way to make it up [laughter].>>Diane Rehm: One
last question. One last question.>>Oh, thank you, gracias. [Foreign language] my question
is relating to volunteerism. You have, like, 25,000
volunteers, or have had in a literal —
going from the Spanish armada to a humanitarian armada. How — how can I, and how
can any of us get involved as volunteers with World Central
Kitchen, and this specific work?>>Jose Andres: We
— very quickly. So you said one last, but I think because
this month people — we should let our fellow
sailor maybe to be the last one to end the — and as a Navy
boy, but — but I will say this. Forget World Central Kitchen. I hope that we never have to
activate here in this city, but we like to use in
quantity the local people. Why? Because local
people know best. Why? Because sometimes,
when you come from far away, and you’re trying
to impose your ways to the locals, things
take longer. And sometimes, you’re
providing aid they don’t need, and sometimes, we
don’t listen to them. And they know best. They know where the water is. They know where the food is. They know where the
medication is. They know what kitchens
we can activate. They know where generators are. And sometimes, when we come from
outside, we impose our ways, but that’s not something the
best way to provide quick, fast. But for World Central Kitchen,
will be, and there is many
ways that you can see when we need people
around the world. Like right now, we have a lot
of people sign in in Florida. We have people right
now in Bahamas. We have people already
been activated in South Carolina as we speak. I’ve been having
teams moving nonstop, but everybody can do something. Sometimes, you don’t even
need to join organization. If you see an elderly
person crossing the street, and you see that he’s having
difficulty, go right there and help that person
cross the street. Maybe load in the
supermarket, besides yours, the load of somebody else
that is having difficulty to load the — everybody
can volunteer any moment. You don’t even need
to join organization. We only have to do one thing. I do believe that the new
American dream is not only about taking care of
your own and your people, but that the new American
dream is about wishing for people you don’t know the
same thing you are wishing for your own. That’s it. That’s it. Then, can you join
a big organization? Do it, but sometimes, your neighbor next door is
the one that needs your help. You are your own organization. Every one of us, we are
our own organization.>>Diane Rehm: I think — yes –>>Jose Andres: You’re the
last — is one — only one? He’s going to be last. I’m sorry. Can we do that? Yeah, and is the last one. I think doing that, we honor
all the men and women in uniform that every single day –>>Diane Rehm: — exactly.>>Jose Andres: — they
go beyond — and the blue.>>Diane Rehm: Good.>>Mr. Andres, thank you so
much for this opportunity to ask a question, and also
for your time at the forefront of humanitarian efforts
around the world. You spoke earlier about a
possible reform in, like, government-subsidized aid. How important do you think that including a cultural
resource research sector would be in that aid?>>Jose Andres: Cultural
in what sense?>>As in, being able to
research what customs are in the local area. You spoke about how just
choosing the right type of food sends a completely
different message to the victims, and
those in need of aid.>>Jose Andres: Totally. I mean, we need to
understand one thing. Like, when you are in
government, and in charge of taking care of an emergency,
of millions of Americans, believe me, sometimes it’s
easier to talk than to do. What we’ve shown is that —
is not one system that is good for everything, that we need to
have more than one way to do it. Because if you — you know what
happens when you plan too much? When the plan — when the
things that you’re expecting, they don’t go as planned, we
lose the possibility to react. People are so focused on a
plan, that when things go as unplanned, nobody
knows what to do. Everybody freezes. That’s why adaptation
is very important. But taking the cultural part
will be always very important. Listen, when we go
sometimes, these people — because we have kosher
meals, and then — because religious issues. We have only vegetables,
because some people cannot eat, because health, meat,
et cetera, et cetera. So this is also very
important in the response — not because it’s cute
— aw, look at — they are bringing vegetarian
dishes to this — no. Sometimes, it’s that —
so doing those research — I know FEMA does that. I know Red Cross does that. We are a smaller
NGO, but we do that. But I think your idea
is great at every level. We need always to be looking — feeding people, at
the end of the day, is the only thing we do every
single day of our lives, from the moment we’re
born to the moment we die. I’m sure feeding is one of the most important
things for humanity. So anything we do to
give the right importance in how we do it, in the
process — guess what? We can start fixing many
of the other problems that we have surrounding us.>>Thank you so much. Safe travels in Florida.>>Diane Rehm: And one more.>>Jose Andres: Last question. Sorry, sorry.>>Hi. As a deaf person,
I am from Puerto Rico, and I want to thank you
from the bottom of my heart for the assistance
that you have given to the island since
the hurricane. That said, my question is,
when we look at situations around the world,
we look at poverty. We look at hunger. Is there any way to partner more
effectively with organizations that do the same kind of work
you do, or the same kind of work that World Kitchen does? And if we can do that
partnership, how?>>Jose Andres: Yeah,
partnerships — thank you for that question. Partnerships are probably one of the most powerful
things we have as humans. A marriage is a partnership
between two people in making a family, and
it’s beautiful to see when families are what keep
moving our society forward. Friendships are a partnership. You decide to have
those friends. Nobody’s making you
befriend them. But then, when we’re
talking about these moments, partnerships are powerful
when they work in a smart way. Everybody — if you
read the book, you’ll see that I had a very big
disappointment with Red Cross — not with Red Cross, the men
and women volunteering 24/7, but with the Red Cross
— the organization. And as a partner,
it was critical. Why? Because we were
the little brother. They were the big brother. In the book, you will
understand what happened, but then you will
understand that, yes, we had some work together. Out of Puerto Rico,
and out of the book, if you see what has happened
lately in California — we got very good
friends with the CEO of Red Cross in California. We’ve been in the fires of
Ventura and the fires of Chico, and Red Cross does an amazing
job taking care of the shelters. We began partnering
very well with them, making sure that every one of those shelters will
have food every single day. So partnerships are important. Partnerships always
work, but sometimes, to be a partner also
means that you are going to tell the others, “This is not
right, and this needs to change. If you don’t change it, this partnership
ain’t going to work.” When you’re honest about that, and you make the partnerships
understand each other, then partnerships can
be super productive, as World Central Kitchen from
almost fighting in Puerto Rico to then working so well together
in North Carolina, California, and other part with Red Cross. That shows you that
partnerships are powerful. So for me, I want to be
working always with more people, but again, needs to make sense. You cannot use partner to do the
tweet to say, “I’m partnering with this organization.” I don’t do it because
looks good. I do it because, at the end,
who benefits is the people that we are trying to serve.>>Diane Rehm: Good. Thank you all. I had one last question for you that I think people
would like to know about. What is your favorite
drink [laughter]?>>Jose Andres: Okay, for the
record, I don’t really drink.>>Diane Rehm: But [laughter]? But?>>Jose Andres: Listen, I
think the best asset our actual president of United States has
is that he doesn’t drink at all, and this is something I applaud. I mean, it might even —
if he did drink [laughter]. But me, I tell you
I don’t drink is because when I have a
cocktail that involve alcohol, I’m not really drinking. What really I’m doing
is supporting local economies [laughter]. I am drinking wine
from Virginia. I’m supporting the local
rural economy of Virginia. I’m drinking tequila. I’m supporting the
great country of Mexico. I’m not really drinking. I am supporting the people
of the world [laughter]. That answers you?>>Diane Rehm: No. What about a bloody Mary?>>Jose Andres: But if you
tell me one favorite drink that doesn’t involve
alcohol, I have to go back — and yes, you’re going
to say, “Man, this guy. We are tired of him.” My wife makes the best gazpacho
in the history of mankind.>>Diane Rehm: That’s lovely.>>Jose Andres: And if
you don’t believe me, I don’t know what
you’re waiting — and let me tell what
I love gazpacho, besides my wife really
always has a pitcher. Because I was — President Obama
invite me to cook for the G20, I think, and they were
having a White House lunch with all the wives. And I was doing an American
menu — an American menu, because I had a restaurant
called America Eats, which is a historical
American restaurant. And then you go, and you say, “And what the heck did you put
gazpacho on the menu [laughter]? You pretentious bastard
[laughter].” Well, because if you
ever read Mary Randolph, the Virginia housewife,
one of the early books of American cooking, there
you will go through the pages, and in rural Virginia in
late 1700s, early 1800s, they were making gazpacho. And I’m not going to
tell you how the recipe from Spain got into Virginia. Obviously, the Spanish people — we were the first ones to
arrive here, with permission, before the English [laughter]. But that gazpacho almost show
up first in an American cookbook than in a Spanish cookbook. So when I say probably that
gazpacho is an American recipe as well as a Spanish recipe, that very much summarizes
my life history, the country I love — I came from, and the country
I belong, America and Spain. Yes, immigrants — we are bridges, and we
can make the place — the world a better place. [ Applause ]

Robin Kshlerin