Celebrity chef Jose Andres opens pop-up kitchen to feed furloughed government employees in Washington

WASHINGTON -- As the partial government shutdown drags on, furloughed federal employees in the nation's capital are enjoying a free hot meal thanks to celebrity chef Jose Andres.

Andres' nonprofit World Central Kitchen on Wednesday opened #ChefsForFeds, an emergency kitchen offering complimentary food and coffee for government employees and their families. The pop-up opened on Pennsylvania Avenue, just blocks from both the White House and the U.S. Capitol, and served 4,000 meals on its first day.

Wednesday's menu included a toasted ham and cheese sandwich, a quinoa power bowl and roasted fennel and tomato soup. Federal employees with a valid government ID and their families can eat in or take food to go.

World Central Kitchen said the kitchen will be open "every day as long as there is need." The organization posted on Facebook that it was looking for volunteers to help staff the pop-up through the weekend, but all 60 daily volunteer slots had been claimed through Jan. 20 by Wednesday evening.

In a video posted to Twitter, Andres called the partial government shutdown -- which impacts approximately 460,000 government employees of more than a dozen Cabinet-level departments across the country -- a humanitarian crisis.

"I hope it will be a call to action to our senators and congressman and especially President Trump to make sure that we end this moment in the history of America where families are about to go hungry," Andres said in a second video. "We should always come together as we the people. As Americans...Republicans, Democrats, all Americans."



President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed the Government Employee Fair Treatment Act of 2019 ensuring that those impacted by the shutdown will be paid -- though not until a new appropriations bill is signed.