Right after the beginning of the full-scale invasion, World Central Kitchen began working across the Ukrainian border, further expanding into new cities including Lviv, Kyiv, Kharkiv, and into frontline communities. From the first days of the war, José and the WCK Relief Team have been cooking millions of meals and distributing food kits throughout Ukraine. In the first seven months of working in Ukraine alone, World Central Kitchen raised and distributed over 300M USD for aid in Ukraine and collaborated with more than 450 Ukrainian restaurants.
In November 2022, José received the Order of Merit II class from President Zelenskyy, and a plaque with his name appeared on the Walk of the Brave in Kyiv.
"José Andrés was with Ukraine from the first days of the full-scale invasion. After a year and a half of the war, he keeps supporting Ukrainians and standing with Ukraine. We will never forget this. Today, we are happy to welcome José as a UNITED24 ambassador, his powerful voice is very important to maintain the support of people across the world” – Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
“From the moment World Central Kitchen arrived in Ukraine, we encountered people and communities motivated by the simple goal to feed and take care of each other - and together, we have not stopped cooking since. This is not only a war to protect freedom and democracy, but a fight to feed the world. I thank President Zelenskyy for the opportunity to serve as a UNITED24 ambassador, and I look forward to continuing to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Ukrainian people as we help them to rebuild.” - José Andrés
José Andrés has twice been named one of the world's most influential people by TIME Magazine, oversees José Andrés Group’s nearly 40 award-winning restaurants across the United States and beyond, teaches a culinary physics course at Harvard University, and has starred in numerous popular television programs that have popularized Spanish gastronomy around the world. He is the founder of the Global Food Institute at George Washington University, which was launched in 2023 to inspire systems change through innovative food policy and train the next generation of food leaders. He is the recipient of the 2015 National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama, and In 2019, José was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his work with World Central Kitchen. Since its foundation in 2010, the organization has fed hundreds of millions of people worldwide.
Today, the organization helps Ukrainians in front-line territories, including Kherson, Zaporizhzhia and Kramatorsk.