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We Fed an Island: The True Story of Rebuilding Puerto Rico, One Meal at a Time
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We Fed an Island: The True Story of Rebuilding Puerto Rico, One Meal at a Time

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  1,275 ratings  ·  255 reviews

The true story of how a group of chefs fed hundreds of thousands of hungry Americans after Hurricane Maria and touched the hearts of many more

Chef José Andrés arrived in Puerto Rico four days after Hurricane Maria ripped through the island. The economy was destroyed and for most people there was no clean water, no
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 11th 2018 by Anthony Bourdain/Ecco
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Alex Shrugged Yes. He repeats himself and his criticisms. The only change is that he becomes more vocal about criticizing President Trump.…moreYes. He repeats himself and his criticisms. The only change is that he becomes more vocal about criticizing President Trump. (less)
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Carla Bayha
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm giving this book 6 stars for the content, and 3.5 for the editing. It's hard to tell if the final copy will fix some of the flow of the book, since what I read is an advanced review copy. I'm hoping that photos and a timeline will be added, as will of course Lin-Manuel Miranda's foreword. This was part of the Anthony Bourdain imprint, so that may have impacted the final editing.

That said: this is the most IMPORTANT book that I've read this year. It has the chance to change the "past is
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

José Andrés is a chef, humanitarian, and founder of World Central Kitchen. He arrived within a week of Hurricane Maria devastating the island of Puerto Rico and set about trying to feed everyone he possibly could. Andrés rallies huge support from volunteers and organizes a network of kitchens around the island to provide chicken and rice as well as ham and cheese sandwiches to everyone struggling to live without food, clean water, electricity,
Jun 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, arc, june
While it takes a little while to get underway, once Andrés starts talking about the incredible operation he put together in Puerto Rico to not only feed residents after Hurricane Maria, but to help them connect and work together, it's an incredible story of the power of the people. Blisteringly critical of Trump and his administration -- rightfully so -- Andrés details the continuing failure of the government to assist its own citizens in a time of crisis. A fascinating read.
May 25, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
3.5 really. Amazing story, not necessarily smooth writing. But if you have spent any length of time in Puerto Rico or been a part of any mass humanitarian relief effort, it really emulates the energy of that space. I’m also very impressed that the author is donating 100% of his profits to his relief organization, so for that reason alone I would support anyone reading it.
Victoria (Latte Nights Reviews)
This review was originally posted on Latte Nights Reviews.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.We Fed an Islandis definitely one of my favorite books of 2018. It's written by chefJosé Andrés, and discusses how he and his nonprofit organization helped feed Puerto Ricans affected by Hurricane Maria.

"A plate of food is much more than food. It sends a message that someone far away cares about you;
Kasa Cotugno
Not a five star due to lack of proper editing. This timely and important book by José Andrés, a true mensch lays out his experiences while bringing food to a devastated Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria. Included is a history of the relationship between the island and the United States, how it became a territory without the benefit of State status. But what a kind man, using his belief that food connects all people and that the preparation and distribution provides more that just a warm ...more
Michael Whitehead
I saw this book in a bookstore and picked it up because I thought that there was an excellent possibility that my name was in it. The American Red Cross sent me to Puerto Rico to respond to the storm. I arrived on the Saturday after the storm hit and worked at the State/Federal Operations Center in the San Juan Convention Center for 3 weeks.

I was involved in a lot of the events and even was present in some of the scenes that Jose depicted in his book. He named a lot of people from many different
May 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I come from an emergency management background, as that was my job in the Air Force, so I was coming from that perspective to this book rather than a foodie who wanted to read a book from a chef. I would like to nominate Chef Andres for the top job of running FEMA after reading this book. FEMA is an unwiedly, bloated government agency that can't find its way even with a map and GPS and a guide person. But this book also solidified my decision not to support the Red Cross whenever they do their ...more
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am Puerto Rican who lived on the island during Hurricane María. I also went to José Andrés's headquarters to deliver meals to a community destroyed by the winds and flooding the hurricane caused. This is why this book was so hard to read for me.

Nonetheless, Chef José Andrés spares no punches as he describes the conditions he found on the island when he arrived, the bureaucratic runaround he received from FEMA, his disgust at how the president of the United States handled the tragedy, and the
Joshunda Sanders
Aug 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
It took me longer than I expected to finish this book, but not because of any flaws with the book, per se. Jose Andres, via his long-time collaborator, tells a riveting and important on the ground narrative about what it took to feed Americans in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria last year when FEMA was not doing an adequate enough job.
There's lots of great data -- anecdotal and otherwise -- to support why it's more humane to feed those who are in the thick of crisis hearty food like sancocho,
Chef José Andrés arrived in Puerto Rico four days after Hurricane Maria ripped through the island. He organized his friends and fellow chefs to the important work of feeding those stranded, homeless and helpless.

Why I started this book: Eager to read a good news story about Hurricane Maria.

Why I finished it: Inspiring and frustrating. This book is about the best and the worst of circumstances, reactions and the business of helping people. I enjoyed the insight into disaster recovery,
Susan Bazzett-Griffith
While I found the work Chef Andres did for Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria to be inspiring and important, the book was often repetitive and he comes off as kind of arrogant and irritating as a voice in this book. The best chapters were in the first half of the book, and I found the chapter about the history of Puerto Rico to be the most readable and interesting, as it had less of the chef and more of the island ad its core. The book also sheds a necessary and unflattering light on the Red ...more
Dec 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
this was hella inspiring.. even for one as cynical of the aid industry in general as i. it shows that there are more efficient modes of aiding those in need- by centralizing their needs, relying on the locals knowledge, their economy and their knowledge... and by individuals responding without the need for bureaucracy. too often these words are bandied about and not really applied to the situation on the ground. we have much to learn... and unfortunately so does the aid industry.
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this book inspiring! As some of the other reviews isn’t the best writing ever, but the story itself is five stars. Jose and his team are amazing humans who took immediate action in a time of need when the US government essentially abandoned Puerto Rico.
Leah K
Dec 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
I think this man is brilliant. I think what he did for Puerto Rico was amazing. Mr. Andres has my utmost respect. With that being said, this book was in need of some better editing. And it was repetitive. There's only so many ways you can make it clear that you fed people while Trump and FEMA messed up, majorly. Interesting story, maybe just not 250 page interesting.
Nov 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Its amazing what chef Andrès was able to accomplish without clear leadership from the government. It’s really sad all the hoopshe had to jump through to feed as many american people as he did. I always wondered what was going on one the news machine forgot about Puerto Rico. What a sad but inspirational book!
Let's be honest, the man is a logistics savant and a stellar chef, not a professional writer. This is a five star story, but the writing (and editing) are not finely polished. And, in this case anyway, I'm fine with that because I'd rather get the story in a timely manner from the person who knows it best than read some slicker second-hand version. Could it have used one more pass through an editor? Sure. But I've definitely read worse writing from people who claim that as their primary ...more
I have an immense amount of respect for José Andrés and the incredible work he describes in the book. I learned a lot about FEMA and the Red Cross, and disaster relief in general, that really made me think about the contrast between Andrés' operation and more bureaucratic solutions. For me, the flow of the book was a little disjointed, and some of the content was a bit repetitive at times. However, the story he tells is incredibly compelling, especially some of the personal anecdotes he shares. ...more
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 stars for the story, 3’ish for the writing, but style isn’t that important when you have a story like this to tell. Our government, FEMA, Red Cross, and Salvation Army failed the people of Puerto Rico miserably in response to Hurricane Maria. Andrés tells the story from his boots-on-the-ground point of view, and backs it up with testimony from other government and NGO agencies, who admitted that they were neither prepared nor equipped to deal with this disaster; as well as an independent ...more
I enjoyed reading We Fed an Island: The True Story of Rebuilding Puerto Rico, One Meal at a Time by chef José Andrés. It's a fascinating story of the efforts Jose Andres and a group of chefs from off - island and those also on the island to try and feed Puerto Rico after the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria.

On the whole, it's a very uplifting story, about how these chefs and their volunteers were able to bring food; ham and cheese sandwiches, paella and other meals to the people of San
I was introduced to this book through the Daily Show and was impressed by the author and his story. While I was excited to read the details of his charity and their experience in Puerto Rico, the reality of the book was that it was extremely repetitive and I learned little more than I would have through his interview or news reports. It would’ve been better as a podcast, or if a full length book, with more of the general background of how disaster recovery has been approached throughout recent ...more
Nov 25, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A highly readable account of how Chef Andres and his team fed hundreds of thousands of meals to islanders after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico. Who better than chefs to feed vast numbers of people since, as he explains, if you run a restaurant you understand supply chains, people management and communication. Andres is driven by what Martin Luther King called "the fierce urgency of now," and he won't let anyone stand in his way when it comes to feeding the people. And this is real food, ...more
This is an amazing story of wonderful chefs and volunteers who fed vast amounts of people after a terrible disaster, with virtually no help from the U.S. government. Unfortunately I just could not finish the book because it is just so downright negative and sickening. Sickening that our country let Puerto Rico down so badly. I get that the negativity needed to be shared, but reading it on every page left me feeling completely hopeless and guilty. I’m grateful that there are still so many people ...more
Suzanne Charles
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jose Andres has a passion for feeding people. He took this passion to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, and managed to do what the federal government couldn’t: feed the people.
I was torn on the rating for this one. The story itself is pretty amazing, eye opening and inspirational. The actual writing is at times repetitive and a bit overdone.
However, it is ultimately a narrative that explains how a small group of determined people, with ambitious leadership, can multiply and overcome
José Andrés is a passionate, determined man. His story of feeding the people of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria is inspiring and brought me to tears numerous times. Hearing again how our government failed Puerto Rico on so many levels was rage-inducing. So my emotions were all over the place. His story deserves 5+ stars. However, his editor needs to WORK. So many of the details were repeated. The book would have been better if it lost about 100 pages and had some serious editing done.
Dec 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars rounded up. This is an inspirational story of chefs coming together to meet the need of desperate times in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. Told through Jose Andres experience. It was great to hear how people came together and worked together with a common goal. It was also interesting to hear about Jose's experience trying to work with federal agencies and other non profits to expand his mission. Took a while to read due to the flow of the book and quality of the writing. But was ...more
Apr 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was wonderful, in a time of such sadness in Puerto Rico after hurricane Maria a nonprofit group of Chefs went to the island and fed hot food and ham sandwiches to everyone they possibly could. The government agencies :FEMA, Salvation Army were too worried about red tape and not enough about the people's need for food and water. The whole island needed help and these chefs worked together with the schools, churches and the people who lived in Puerto Rico to provide food and water and ...more
Celia Rheault
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book I’ve read written by a cook. This is the most grounding, eye-opening, for-the-people book I’ve ever read. I was constantly in shock at the revelations in this read about humanitarian relief efforts and how the American government just plain sucks. Definitely recommend this one !!
Feb 09, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The enthusiasm of Chef Jose Andres comes through clearly in this book. He had a mission and was determined to feed the people of Puerto Rico. I was tuned-in closely to Hurricane Maria and watched the devastating impact to the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. This book has lessons learned from passionate non-profits contributing to disasters in FEMA territory. Hopefully this book sheds daylight on a broken system that uses models that can't be applied in current environment of climate change ...more
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We need to learn these lessons and we need to carry them forward through every disaster. Jose Andres and his team at World Central Kitchen are demonstrating the lie that we can't do better.
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José Ramón Andrés Puerta, más conocido como José Andrés, es un cocinero español-estadounidense. Desde 2013 tiene también la nacionalidad estadounidense.

Chef/Owner of ThinkFoodGroup, star of the "Made In Spain" television series, and culinary creator and advocate.
“As I looked up to the stars, I began to cry. I thought the one star that was missing was the Puerto Rican star on the American flag.” 1 likes
“Even the measures of food were confusing and FEMA had no way of understanding what was going on. The Red Cross talked about pounds of food, while others were talking about pallets. We preferred to talk about meals, which was actually what FEMA’s contracts specified. All these counts went into a big Excel spreadsheet that FEMA maintained and emailed every day. At the bottom of the spreadsheet, the total count of food was supposed to be there for everyone to see. Instead, the count was a calculating error because there was no standard unit of food that everyone used. If FEMA couldn’t manage a spreadsheet, how could it manage an emergency?” 0 likes
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