We Fed An Island
| | |

We Fed An Island Book Review

The Extraordinary Story Of Chef José Andrés and Hurricane Maria Inflicted Humanitarian Crisis (With Book Club Questions)

September 2017, Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico and ravaged the island. It was responsible for almost 3,000 American deaths. The island was devastated, there was no power, no potable water, no food. With so much destruction and relief efforts slow to make progress in the city and across the remote sections of the island, a group of chefs, led by Chef José Andrés arrived in Puerto Rico to see if they could make a difference. We Fed An Island is a moving story of how resourcefulness and a desire to help can change the narrative.

Travel With Sandi is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and other affiliate advertising programs. It is designed to earn advertising fees by linking to sellers’ websites.

World Central Kitchen

We Fed An Island
Photo credit to World Central Kitchen/WCK.org

“World Central Kitchen started with a simple idea at home with my wife Patricia: when people are hungry, send in cooks. Not tomorrow, today.” José Andrés.

World Central Kitchen (WCK) was founded in 2010 by Chef José Andrés. It has served over 350 million disaster relief meals around the globe. Utilizing resources already in place, WCK’s work feeds hungry people. It empowers the local economy by using businesses, services, and facilities already in place. This local/regional approach is a well rounded method of bringing community kitchens and services together. It gives people what they need most when disaster strikes — food and water.

San Juan, Puerto Rico

We Fed An Island
Map of Puerto Rico USGS.gov

When Hurricane Marie hit Puerto Rico, WCK, led by Andrés, quickly began to feed as many people as they could.

The process began by securing kitchens that could still function, groceries, power, and chefs to work the kitchens. Pots full of Sancocho soon were dished out to anyone who needed a nourishing hot meal. Sancocho, a staple in Latin American kitchens, is a hearty dish made with meat and root vegetables.

The True Story of Rebuilding Puerto Rico One Meal At A Time

We Fed An Island

We Fed An Island movingly describes the process of knitting together a network of kitchens, local chefs, delivery trucks, suppliers, and volunteers.

Eventually cooking 100,000 meals a day across Puerto Rico, Andrés addressed an immediate need and set the foundation for recovery.

The Federal Government

In We Fed An Island, the red-tape and broken crisis management system are revealed as a bureaucratic disaster. Wasteful spending and inaction were the two biggest roadblocks. Some of the biggest charities that purported to help Puerto Rico regain its economic foothold stuggled to bring aid quickly. 

The Federal government and Red Cross responders are billed as inept and bogged down in red tape. They did, in fact impart relief to the people. However, Andrés’ team fed hundreds of thousands of hungry Americans through local resources. The Federal government was slow to simply deliver nutritious food and potable water.

Book Club Questions

Listen to your favorite book on Amazon Audible. Give the gift of knowledge and watch it grow.

  1. What are your thoughts regarding the “boots on the ground” method of disaster relief that Chef José Andrés and his wonderful chefs employed?
  2. As information came out about the ineffectiveness of the US government and nonprofit agencies’ response, did you realize disaster relief was hindered by such a broken and wasteful system? Do you believe our disaster relief system is working well and simply needs less red tape or a slight improvement?
  3. How would you repair or improve the FEMA and Red Cross disaster response? Can the World Central Kitchen system become a model for future relief efforts?
  4. Thinking back to Hurricane Marie, did you realize the situation in Puerto Rico was so dire? Do you think the media underplayed how devastated the island was after the storm?
  5. Did you feel that FEMA had a different response effort for Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria than it did for Houston after Hurricane Harvey?
  6. Basic human nature is to help others in times of need. When we are not able to be somewhere in person, we donate money or supplies. Has the amazing story of We Fed An Island changed your thoughts on how you will assist relief non-profits moving forward?
  7. The sustainability of Chef José Andrés and Chef José Enrique efforts helped Puerto Rico recover from Hurricane Maria. What do you think is the major reason for their success at feeding so many people?
  8. Are you personally prepared for a natural disaster? Do you have what you need if the outside world can’t come to your immediate rescue?
  9. Finally, have you dined in one of Chef José Andrés restaurants?

The True Story of Rebuilding Puerto Rico, One Meal at a Time

This incredible story of rebuilding Puerto Rico one meal at a time will delight you with heart warming stories of communities bonding together and lifting each other up. It will also wrench your heart as you discover the slow, broken and wasteful system the Federal government uses for natural disaster relief. The amazing story of We Fed An Island offers readers a thought provoking account of what is good in America. And exposes what, as fellow citizens, we may need to repair.

Happy Reading,



We Fed An Island


If you like travel stories, you will also like Ten Years A Nomad by Matthew Kepnes

Don’t you just hate it when your phone battery is in the dreaded red zone? I always carry Fuel Rods with me. They give me a battery boost, they are rechargeable, and they work with iphones and androids. 

Travel health insurance when you are heading out of the country is an important consideration. Many policies don’t fully cover you outside of the US. I use Safety Wing for my international travels. I use the one-time coverage option for individual trips – luckily I haven’t had to use it. If you are traveling in a country that may require you to be airlifted for proper medical attention, Medjet is the best option. 

If you know me, you know I love a glass of wine (or two). My favorite mail order wine company is Naked Wines. I order a case every month or so – no judgment please. I get to choose what wine I want and when I want it delivered. 

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *