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Chef Jose Andres on visit to SC reveals plan to train culinary students in disaster relief

Jose Andres at Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte

Jose Andres appears at Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte. Provided

With more hospitality professionals heading up relief efforts in the wake of natural disasters, the chef best known for feeding disaster survivors is developing a first-response curriculum for culinary students.

Jose Andres on Friday told an audience at euphoria Greenville, an annual food festival, that he’s partnered with Johnson & Wales University to put together an online training program for prospective aid workers. Students who complete the one-credit course will be certified to volunteer with World Central Kitchen, Andres’ nonprofit.

World Central Kitchen has served more than 8 million meals over the past two years, according to the organization. Volunteers have distributed hot food in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria, in North Carolina following Hurricane Florence, and in Washington, D.C., during the government shutdown.

Most recently, a World Central Kitchen team traveled to the Bahamas in advance of Hurricane Dorian.

“We have so admired his dedication to helping those in need,” Johnson & Wales Chancellor Mim Runey says of the partnership’s genesis.

Details of the program are “in the early stages,” a spokeswoman reports, but Andres visited the school’s Charlotte campus earlier this month. While there, he met with students and spoke about his humanitarian work.

Closer to Charleston and in the nearer future, Janice Hudgins of Little Miss Ha this week announced a dinner to benefit World Central Kitchen. The Oct. 17 event at Society Hall will also support the Abaco Relief Fund.

“If you've ever been, then you know how special the people and islands are to all of those that visit,” says Hudgins, who 15 years ago started making regular trips to the Abacos. When Dorian started to bear down on the island chain, Hudgins says she prayed for the welfare of her friends and safety of her in-laws’ home.

“Then I just decided I needed to do something,” she continues. “I couldn't just pray for someone else to help: I wanted to help too.”

Tickets for the dinner featuring Hudgins, Cru Catering’s Justin Broome, Tim Richardson of Hank’s Seafood and Butcher & Bee pastry chef Allison Cates are priced at $125 and will be available for purchase starting Friday. Hudgins says 100 percent of proceeds will be donated to World Central Kitchen and the Abaco Relief Fund.

Reach Hanna Raskin at 843-937-5560 and follow her on Twitter @hannaraskin.

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