Chef José Andrés has made a career of creating five-star cuisine; he is now in the business of fighting world hunger. 

There’s no such thing as a typical day for chef José Andrés. With a hub of restaurants in the Capital District, plus outposts on the West Coast and Puerto Rico, he could be found cooking in one of his critically-acclaimed restaurants one day while the next he’s on the ground in Haiti with World Central Kitchen, the organization he founded after seeing firsthand the devastation the 2010 earthquake brought to that country.

“Encountering José in a crumbling hotel in Haiti was entirely to be expected,” wrote Anthony Bourdain for Time magazine’s 2012 100 World’s Most Influential People list. “The man is capable of anything.”

On a day-to-day basis, it’s the kitchen where the chef and Washington, D.C., resident showcases his culinary capabilities. At Zaytinya, Andrés marries the Mediterranean influences of Greece, Turkey and Lebanon to craft arguably one of the Capital District’s best restaurants. A few blocks south, the culinary excitement of Peru and its Asian and Andean food fusion is the basis for China Chilcano. Today Andrés has 21 restaurants, plus a food truck. It’s been quite a rise from a boy in rural Asturias, north of Barcelona, who chose cooking as his a career at the age of 15. After working at the world famous El Bulli in Spain, he came stateside where his first local eatery, Jaleo, was credited with sparking the Spanish food revival in the U.S.

Cooking for Andrés is more than just crafting great food. Through his non-profit organization, World Central Kitchen, he is looking for smart solutions to global hunger. The married father of three is also spokesperson for Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” anti-obesity campaign and is the culinary ambassador for the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. That’s not a small issue: toxic smoke from traditional stoves cause almost two million deaths each year.

“I really believe in using the power of food to change the world,” Andrés said in a 2013 Forbes interview. “We try to incorporate this idea into everything we do.”

Chefs prefer natural gas

One need look no further than reality TV cooking shows to know that professional kitchens prefer to cook with natural gas. The flames don’t just look good on TV—chefs prize the medium for the intensity and control of the heat. A gas stove comes on instantly and turns off just as fast.

“Electric stoves take time to cool down because of the residual heat remaining in the heating elements,” said Brendan Cronin, MBA, assistant professor of Hospitality Management at Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts.. “So when we turn off the gas under a pot of food, the heat stops instantly. Very practical in the professional—and domestic—kitchen.”

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