Chef José Andrés's Home Cooking Videos Are the Mood Boost We All Need Right Now

Chef José Andrés's Home Cooking Videos Are the Mood Boost We All Need Right Now

Chef José Andrés has become the face of the restaurant industry’s natural inclination to be of service. His global work through the organization he and his wife Patricia founded a decade ago, World Central Kitchen, has been invaluable in feeding communities ravaged by disasters both natural and man-made. His willingness to put himself front and center in important dialogue with the power structure around issues of immigration, hunger, and underserved communities has resulted in everything from his name being put forth to the Nobel committee to a TIME magazine cover. Throughout, he has maintained his exceptional restaurants, his television appearances, and his personal support of industry events.

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I had the pleasure of meeting him very briefly at the first Chow Chow Festival in Asheville, North Carolina, in 2019. He was there to support some chef friends and popped into a dinner I was attending. And while he entered the room unobtrusively, just there as a private citizen wanting to celebrate his pals, as soon as someone spotted his unmistakable bearded-and-barrel-chested self, the room erupted in applause and a spontaneous standing ovation. Several of us welled up as we showed this very hardworking good man how much we appreciate all he does. He blushed. Literally. And waved us off, laughing, telling us all to keep eating, and headed back to the kitchen to commune with the chefs.

So, it is no wonder that at this time of global crisis, Andrés is hard at work. And while the world is made ever so much better by the 100,000 meals his World Central Kitchen relief teams are serving every day across the country, it is a more unexpected service that he is providing that I really want to celebrate.

José Andrés is filming the most fantastic, messy, real-life cooking videos at home with his daughters, and they are giving me life.

Exhibit A:

we are today cooking a pasta dish with eggplants and chickpeas, dedicated to all of the first responders, the police and firefighters who are still going to work every day, making sure all of us are safe as we go through out daily lives. We are giving #Hamilton a break, instead we are cooking to @rosalia.vt …her song Malamente is so beautiful, it makes you want to dance, move, cook!! So here it is, Pasta, eggplant, chickpeas … let’s go!Get some water boiling … not a lot! People, we do not need to be using so much water when we boil pasta. Then get your chickpeas open, your canned tomatoes, chop a whole peeled eggplant, an onion, garlic (naked today!), then some cheese if you have. Some spices, whatever is in your pantry.. Cumin, pimentón, sumac? Anything you want!! Get the pasta boiling, you can add some of the chickpea water into the pasta water for extra texture and flavor. Saute the garlic and onion, maybe a chili. Add the eggplant to the onions and garlic, saute and sing along, maybe some opera! When the eggplant is a little cooked, the onion is a little translucent, then we add the spices, as much as you want. Then add the chickpeas, some tomato sauce (either canned or already made…up to you.) Toss the cooked pasta (with all the water! IS now the sauce) into the chickpeas, carefully to not break the pasta. Add some salt to taste, some olive oil, some more sumac, top with some sour cream of cheese if you want it. Then serve it .. Malamente!!

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Not stylish, not fancy, not elevated dishes. No lighting, no script, no gentle expression of technique. Andrés is a bull in a china kitchen: Food is flung about, prepped speedily, and dumped with flourish and aplomb into giant pots, all while his charming daughters roll their eyes affectionately, save dish towels from falling into the stove flames, and assist him on keeping to task as his gregarious nature has him going off on the occasional tangent. Every episode Andrés posts as part of the #RecipesforthePeople hashtag is dedicated to first-liners in the novel coronavirus crisis: medical workers, immigrants, grocery store workers, farmers. Most videos have a song that Andrés and his family are trying to complete the recipe to, many from the musical score to Hamilton. (Andrés confesses in one episode to having a man crush on Lin-Manuel Miranda.)

In any time, these videos would be soul-uplifting, but during these times, they are more like cosmic life preservers. The exuberant joy they share, the clear and easy affection of the family, the down-and-dirty “anyone can do this” approach to cooking, the awareness of lack of ingredients and the need to be economical, all while dancing and singing and making a glorious mess. They are, as Andrés’s work often is, exactly what we need right now.

Get started watching right here

Here are some more favorites to get you hooked (and pick up some possible new ideas for dinner tonight!):

Watch this leftovers recipe as much for his daughter’s attempts to stop him from talking about the relative nudity of garlic.

the zipcode for Broadway, made by my friend Lin-Manuel Miranda to support the amazing women & men of Broadway, the ones in the theater industry hurting right now … you can get your own t-shirt at teerico.com & support them!! @wckitchen We are cooking leftover brisket and eggs today to the #Hamilton song The Election of 1800, which gives us 4 minutes to cook … a lifetime. Here we go!! Heat up a pan with olive oil. Add the garlic (as I tell you there is no need to peel it! just smash it a little to free it up) and chopped onion and fry for a minute or two, always moving it around, then add whatever meat you have, brisket or chicken or ham…and Keep moving. Crack in some eggs … maybe two for everyone in your family. Add some salt and some pepper, and let it cook! Patience is key now. Let the eggs cook, the onions cook, then we add the chips, the goat cheese, add some rosemary (or any other herbs) on top. It’s a messy recipe but who cares!! No one is watching if you eat directly from the pan…..

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Chicken and cauliflower is a perfect easy and adaptable recipe that comes together in minutes.

is dedicated to all Immigrants, and most of all the undocumented immigrants of America… they are the ones picking our produce, out in the fields, making sure that you and I, we can have fresh vegetables delivered to the grocery stores even now with everything else going on. We need to stand up with them and speak up for them… so of course we are singing to #Hamilton again, this time it is Yorktown, the song about Immigrants, how we get the job done .. so THANK you undocumented immigrants for feeding America and getting the job done!! @WCKitchen Chicken with Cauliflower (in 4 minutes!) Heat up some olive oil in a in a large sauté pan. When it is hot, add some garlic (again don’t worry about peeling, just break it up) – as much as you want. Add some chopped cauliflower, or green peas, or broccoli, or whatever you and your kids like …Sautee sautee sautee until the garlic and the cauliflower fall in love!  Remove the garlic & cauliflower, add a little more oil with the chicken .. don’t touch it too much, just let it sit and cook for 30-45 seconds so it gets some color, then turn it over to make sure it’s cooked through. Add some salt and pepper, chilies and parsley.. then add back the cauliflower and garlic, everything will come together and it’s ready to go! BOOM!!

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This fried rice couldn’t be less Asian, or more charming. A great way to use up leftover bits from the fridge.

And of course we are listening to Hamilton … during these times we are not throwing away our shots.. or our leftover vegetables! @WCKitchen Fried RiceGet everything cut & ready before you start cooking … because once you turn on the heat, it goes quick!! Mince some ginger if you have it (garlic if you don’t .. or nothing) and chop up all of the vegetables you have in small bite-size pieces – carrots, Chinese cabbage, leeks, scallions, celery, onions, cauliflower, broccoli … you get the idea. Take some peas out of the freezer, some corn in a can, hell .. if it’s a vegetable it’s good! If you have any meat leftover you can cut that up too, because vegetables LOVE a little meat for flavor. Scramble some eggs, or use leftovers from breakfast, and have a bowl of cooked rice from last night ready. Then you cook! Heat up olive oil in a pan and cook the ginger until it smells so so good, then add the vegetables & keep stirring. Add a little salt and taste … ALWAYS taste while you’re cooking to make sure it’s how you want it. When the vegetables are getting a little soft, toss in your eggs, your rice, some soy sauce and saute for like 2-3 more minutes .. .and then you have your Fried Rice! 🥢🍚👨‍🍳

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For more, follow @chefjoseandres on Instagram and watch the Story space for updates. You can also go to #RecipesforthePeople on the platform for his and other chef’s posts. For more about the amazing work of World Central Kitchen, follow them on Instagram @wckitchen and if you want to assist them in their work, click on this link to donate.

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