Ron Howard and Jose Andres Hope to Spark Change With We Feed People Emmy Nomination
In July, “We Feed People,” Ron Howard’s National Geographic documentary about celebrity chef José Andrés and his nonprofit World Central Kitchen, received two Emmy nominations.
That same month, World Central Kitchen, which cooks and delivers food to people in need following social and environmental disasters, continued its humanitarian response to the war in Ukraine. The org has set up more than 5,000 distribution points and has served more than 100 million meals since entering the country in February.
The Emmy nominations offer Howard and Andrés another opportunity to discuss the docu — but also the global efforts of World Health Kitchen that they hope will serve as a call to action, big or small.
“I’m not a warrior out there in the field, but I’m doing the thing I can do, which is make a film,” says Howard. “Storytelling is meant to be used in many instances to enlighten, inspire, engage people’s imaginations, and transport them. So suddenly, they can imagine what it might be like, if not, to be involved in an organization like World Central Kitchen; what would it be like to make a difference? That’s what storytelling does; it stimulates that imagination.”
In the week following the release of “We Feed People,” 1,000 people registered to volunteer for the organization.
“People need to decide if they are going to look away from the troubles [going on] right now or if they are going to look at the problem and decide to be an active member of what’s wrong,” says Andrés. “Not everybody needs to show up in a war zone, but everybody can help in so many different ways.”
A native of Spain, Andrés moved to the U.S. in 1990 and established himself as a Michelin-starred chef and restaurateur with upscale eateries initially in the Washington, D.C., area, then nationwide. In 2010, after a massive earthquake hit Haiti, Andrés formed World Central Kitchen.
“We Feed People” follows World Health Kitchen team members as they fight to nourish tens of thousands in need in places where natural disasters caused by global warming, including floods and fires, have occurred. While the film doesn’t capture the org’s efforts in the Ukraine, the docu does follow Andrés and his team providing relief to Puerto Ricans after Hurricane Maria in 2017 and to Americans during the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
“This documentary comes in a very unique moment in the history of humanity when I sincerely believe that governments of the world are taking food for granted,” says Andrés. “Emergencies, in a way, are the perfect moment to show that food is a true necessity for humans.”
Andrés’ fight to feed people in need doesn’t involve political red tape and bureaucracy, which often allows World Health Kitchen to respond to catastrophes more rapidly than government-run agencies delivering aid. Today, the org is running the largest food relief operation in the Ukraine despite missiles destroying their food cargo trains and farm partners.
“We have delivered over 100 million meals,” Andrés says. “This delivery is bigger than any of the other bigger organizations that, on paper, are supposed to do what we are doing. So, we need to start investing in solutions, and I think Ron’s documentary conveys that.
There are many hidden messages in Ron’s documentary, and one is that the recipes of the past are not working. We must write new recipes to fulfill the challenges of the present and the challenges ahead, which are bigger problems than what the leaders of the world think they are.”
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