There’s a reason why we turn to our favorite comfort foods when we’re sad. There’s healing power in good food and good friends… and Puerto Rico has plenty of both. The island’s food service industry is stepping up to the challenge of refueling locals who have been at a loss for clean water and basic necessities since Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in September. While supplies have been limited and many on the island are still without electricity, the resilient residents of Puerto Rico have been striving to maintain a positive outlook and have been creating a lot from what little resources they have. This extends to their food.
(Courtesy Of World Central Kitchen)Many chefs, including Céntrico’s Héctor Graciani and Mi Casa’s have utilized the resources from their restaurants and brought together volunteers to serve food to the hungry victims of Hurricane Maria. Graciani’s restaurant was destroyed by the hurricane, but he felt that his food -- which was kept safe by a generator -- was the best way to make the most of this devastation, utilizing it to refuel residents of Puerto Rico. Andrés, known for his high-end restaurants, wanted to make sure that he was there to help support the hungry locals, making meals from any resources available. For some on the island, these meals supplied by chefs and their volunteers may be their only daily meal while recovery efforts in Puerto Rico are still underway.
(Photograph by Gabriel Serrano Denis for The Village Voice)Graciani and Andrés aren’t the only chefs working to aid Puerto Rican residents through food. For one week in October, hundreds of chefs and mixologists came together for LA Loves Puerto Rico. The LA food community came together to serve dishes to raise money for Puerto Rico’s hurricane relief. Even from miles away, chefs are using the power of food to bring about healing for those affected by Hurricane Maria.Whether it’s through volunteerism, serving food to those who are hungry or raising money through food, one thing is clear: The food service industry is refueling and healing the island of Puerto Rico one bite at a time.