Famed Chef Will Head N.J. Wine & Food Fest

By Ung, Elisa | The Record (Bergen County, NJ), February 18, 2013 | Go to article overview

Famed Chef Will Head N.J. Wine & Food Fest


Ung, Elisa, The Record (Bergen County, NJ)


Jose Andres is not just a chef and prolific restaurateur.

He's a philanthropist passionate about reducing world hunger, an activist who spoke at Davos, a television personality, a cookbook author, and a pioneer in bringing his native Spanish cuisine to the United States in traditional and modern forms.

Andres is also a husband and father of three whose family has vowed to visit all 50 states in the next three to four years. And "we've never been on vacation in New Jersey."

Hence, one reason he agreed to headline the New Jersey Wine and Food Festival at the Crystal Springs Resort in Hamburg next month: It provides a chance to relax with his family, play golf and explore one of the country's most ambitious wine cellars.

The festival is also benefiting the non-profit Andres founded, World Central Kitchen (as well as the James Beard Foundation). World Central Kitchen is currently working in Haiti on projects such as starting a bakery in an orphanage to provide orphans with food, income and a skill set.

In a recent phone interview, Andres said chefs in particular have "a great responsibility and at the same time a great opportunity to make sure that our private business can be part of helping our communities, our countries."

"I don't think anybody can claim success at any part of our lives, private or professional, if there are others that don't enjoy the same opportunities ... the only way to have a better world and end poverty is by closing the gap between the top and the bottom."

As an immigrant who arrived from Spain more than two decades ago and now has restaurants in Washington DC, Los Angeles, Miami, Las Vegas and Puerto Rico, "I have almost a double responsibility," Andres said. "I wasn't born here and I got opportunities. We could argue that as immigrants, we have to work harder to help others."

Andres also takes great pride in Spanish contributions made to America - all the way back 500 years ago to the arrival of Juan Ponce de Leon to Florida. One of the most influential colonial cookbooks, he says, included a number of Spanish recipes, including one for gazpacho, the Spanish tomato soup.

And today, you can see Spanish influences in the tapas and small- plates restaurants influenced by Andres' Washington D. …

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