Celebrity humanitarian chef Jose Andres steps in to feed people in Gaza and Israel

His organisation has joined forces with local ones to serve hot meals to displaced families

Jose Andres founded World Central Kitchen in 2010 after a massive earthquake hit Haiti. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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With food kits and hot rice dishes, the non-profit organisation created by renowned Spanish-American chef Jose Andres has stepped in to help feed Palestinians and Israelis amid the worsening Israel-Gaza war.

Mr Andres founded World Central Kitchen in 2010 after a massive earthquake hit Haiti. He has also done work in Ukraine following Russia's invasion.

He is now using that same model of joining forces with local organisations to set up kitchens offering much needed assistance to people who have been displaced by conflict.

“In the midst of this violence and critical humanitarian crisis facing millions of Palestinians, access to food and the means to cook for their loved ones is hampered,” the organisation wrote on its website.

World Central Kitchen said it had joined Anera, a local organisation, to set up a kitchen in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip where thousands of Palestinians have fled.

The organisation has also worked with restaurants in Israel to assist families who have been evacuated.

“In Israel, we are working with local restaurants across the country, serving meals to people who have been displaced from their homes as a result of the early October attack and ensuing shelling along the border,” according to the website.

On October 7, Hamas gunmen attacked southern Israel, killing about 1,400 people. Israel has since evacuated residents of several cities bordering Gaza, as it bombards the enclave with air strikes that have so far killed more than 7,000, according to a local tally.

Ahead of an imminent ground invasion aimed at destroying Hamas, Israel also tightened its siege of Gaza, blocking the entry of food, water, medicine and fuel, triggering a humanitarian crisis affecting the 2.3 million Palestinian residents of the enclave.

It also ordered residents of northern Gaza – more than one million people – to leave their homes and flee to the south.

International efforts have since led to the entry of five convoys carrying aid through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.

But so far, Israel has not allowed the entry of fuel, worsening an already dire healthcare situation.

World Central Kitchen said that continuing air strikes and difficulties in getting supplies into Gaza is hindering its efforts.

Originally from northern Spain, Mr Andres, 54, learnt to cook in Barcelona and moved to the US in 1990.

He is based in Washington, where he runs several successful restaurants, including the award-winning Jaleo and Zaytinia.

Updated: October 27, 2023, 3:50 PM