This week marks the fifth anniversary of the 2010 Haitian earthquake. More than 316,000 people died, and many of the survivors still lack access to food, water, and sanitation.
Chef Jose Andres and World Central Kitchen (WCK) believe there is now much to celebrate in Haiti. Over the past three years, WCK has empowered people, strengthened the economy, developed key partnerships, created a skilled workforce, and helped communities feed themselves.
Haiti Breathes, a partnership between the WCK, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Chemonics, and Switch Haiti, has transitioned 100 Port-au-Prince schools from charcoal burning stoves to liquid petroleum gas. Every year, four million people around the globe die from complications due to cooking with charcoal and wood. Haiti Breathes is targeting 700 more schools in the area to help make cooking safer.
“When mothers and daughters use our cookstoves, they aren’t inhaling harmful fumes. And because our cookstoves don’t use wood, we know the little girls aren’t working all the time to collect fuel, so maybe they can have the opportunity to go to school,” explains Chef Andres.
WCK also operates the Chef Network, a group of 50 chefs from around the world who have committed to supporting smart solutions to hunger and poverty.
“I believe chefs have a unique opportunity to influence how people think about our food system, both here at home and around the world. I’m really honored that this group of talented chefs have agreed to offer their expertise to support WCK and help create sustainable food economies in communities around the world,” says Chef Andres.
Chefs Andres’ front line of chefs includes Mario Batali, Anthony Bourdain, Tom Colicchio, Carla Hall, and Spike Mendelsohn. The Chef Network works in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, as well as countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, using their culinary skills and perspectives to feed communities, design curriculums, build smart kitchens, and create jobs.
In Port-au-Prince, WCK collaborated with Partners in Health to create a sustainable bakery, Boulanjri Beni, in an orphanage. This revenue-generating project trains bakers about sanitation, business plans, and entrepreneurship, while creating revenue for the orphanage. Today, they bake around 800 rolls a day.
The success of Boulanjri Beni and other similar projects’ has created interest in expanding the social enterprise model to four new countries, with six new potential partners.
“We have 50 chefs who are ready to go around the world with us and change the world. We are capitalizing on the skills and knowledge of these chefs,” says Brian MacNair, Executive Director of WCK.
We’re honored that Chef Jose Andres will be speaking at Food Tank’s reception and dinner event at Farmers Fishers Bakers on January 21st in Washington, D.C. I am also really excited to share that Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, Washington Post Food and Dining Editor Joe Yonan, Sustainable America’s Jeremy Kranowitz, and Edible DC’s Susan Able, and other great speakers will be joining Chef Andres! We expect dinner tickets to sell out today so please buy your tickets now by clicking HERE (BONUS: For $50 off for dinner tickets just use promotional code: FTDinner). Please also share this event with anyone you know in the Washington, D.C. area.