Small Bites: Bethesda’s Jose Andrés Talks About Creating ‘One of the Biggest Restaurants in the World’ To Feed Thousands in Puerto Rico
Plus: Taylor Gourmet may close two local stores; The Dish & Dram to recognize National Breast Cancer Awareness Month with Coffee & Tea program
Chef Jose Andres
RYAN FORBES/VIA JAMES BEARD FOUNDATION
Bethesda’s Jose Andrés, a celebrity chef who owns a slew of restaurants including Jaleo on Woodmont Avenue, recently sat down with Terry Gross, host of NPR’s Fresh Air, to talk about feeding thousands of people in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria last September.
The chef’s new memoir, co-written with Richard Wolffe, is We Fed an Island, The True Story of Rebuilding Puerto Rico, One Meal at a Time and recounts the efforts of Andrés’ two groups, World Central Kitchen and Chefs for Puerto Rico, to provide meals to the island’s residents after the devastation of the hurricane.
Along with volunteers, the groups served more than 150,000 meals per day from kitchens commandeered from local restaurants and schools and even one set up in a basketball arena that Andrés says may have been “one of the biggest restaurants in the world” while it operated.
“Restaurants are chaos and chefs—restaurant people—we manage chaos very well,” Andrés told Gross in the interview that aired Sept. 10. “After a hurricane, you see a lot of chaos, and people go hungry and people go thirsty. But what we are very good at is understanding the problem and adapting. And so a problem becomes an opportunity. That’s why I think … more and more you’re going to be seeing more [chefs] in these situations. We’re practical. We’re efficient. And we can do it quicker, faster and better than anybody.”
Hoagie shop Taylor Gourmet considers closing local stores
Taylor Gourmet, a local fast-casual restaurant chain known for its Philly-style hoagies, is floating the idea of closing two of its three Montgomery County locations while backing off of opening a fourth planned store, according to the Washington Business Journal.
Restaurants in North Bethesda’s Pike & Rose development and on Fenton Street in downtown Silver Spring appear to be on the chopping block, as the owner of the company tries to renegotiate or terminate leases. Down-sizing to smaller locations is also being considered, according to the published report.
“Competition for space has driven up premiums on real estate, which is counterbalanced to what the customer’s ultimately asking for,” Taylor Gourmet CEO Casey Patten told the Journal. “They’re not asking for 2,200-square-foot spaces to sit down and eat lunch or dinner in, or to come in on weekends. They want their food, available to pick up, an app to ease the process, and an opportunity for on-demand through third-party delivery services.”
A company spokesperson did not return a request for comment regarding the status of the Taylor Gourmet at 7280 Woodmont Ave. in Bethesda.
The Dish & Dram’s Coffee & Tea program honors National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
The Dish & Dram in Kensington is honoring National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October by donating 15 percent of sales of French Press coffee and bags of its branded coffee to the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C.
The restaurant at 10301 Kensington Parkway is partnering with local women-owned coffee and tea producers, Southeastern Roastery of Washington, D.C., and Great Falls Tea Garden of Great Falls, Virginia, in a Coffee & Tea program beginning Oct. 1, according to a press statement.
“As a woman-owned business and active member of Women Chefs and Restaurateurs, I am excited to partner with these businesses, especially during Breast Cancer Awareness Month,’’ the Dish & Dram co-owner Zena Polin said.
Diners can choose from coffees roasted by Southeastern Roast and Brewery, where owner and founder Candy Schibli “brings high quality coffees to markets through environmentally and socially conscious in-country producers and local importers,” the release said.
Great Falls Tea Garden owner Laurie Bell has created 10 teas that will be served at the restaurant, including a rotating selection of blooming flower tea balls served in a glass pot. Bell also created two unique specialty teas, according to the statement.