Chef Jose Andres gives keynote at National Restaurant Association show: 'We are anchors of hope'

Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Chef Jose Andres gives keynote at convention: 'We are anchors of hope'
Chef Jose Andres, founder of World Central Kitchen, addressed more than 50,000 attendees at the National Restaurant Association convention at McCormick Place in Chicago Monday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chef Jose Andres, founder of World Central Kitchen, addressed more than 50,000 attendees at the National Restaurant Association convention at McCormick Place in Chicago Monday as the day's keynote speaker.

"Restaurants, we are anchors of hope, we are anchors that we can make it happen; our streets can be better, our neighborhoods can be better, our cities can be better," he told the crowd.

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World Central Kitchen has fed people around the world after disasters, and also serves those in harm's way. In April, seven workers were killed in Gaza in an Israeli airstrike.

"That was a difficult one. I'm still processing this, actually," Andres said.

He urged attendees to do what they can to be part of the solution in their communities.

Some local chefs and restauranteurs have already made that shift. The owner of Demera in Uptown began to host fundraisers at her restaurant after people in her home country of Ethiopia were displaced by war from the Tigray region.

"It was natural, it came from the heart," said Tigist Reda, owner of Demera. "It was like, I get to live my life, I get to do my calling."

Rohini Dey, owner of Vermilion in River, North created an organization to support women owned businesses called Let's Talk Women.

"We would like to combine our voice to maximized the benefits for all women owners through the power of food," she said.

Aside from the technology tips and seasoning secrets, attendees may also return home with a new or renewed sense of purpose.

"The future of this country and the future of this planet, believe it or not, is in your hands. Let's make sure we all want to create a better world, because we can," said Andres.

Diners can support the philanthropic work of restauranteurs with purposeful dining. The NRA convention ends Tuesday.