Interview: José Andrés and Patricia Fernandez de la Cruz
The Bethesda couple talks about raising their daughters, cooking at home and José’s crazy schedule
Do people recognize you on the streets of Bethesda, or when you’re walking around elsewhere? Is that annoying?
José: One of the reasons maybe we don’t go out so often—because me, I like to eat—is sometimes a little bit that. Yes, [privacy] has become a little bit more of an issue over time. But again, we are like any other family with [the] same dreams, and the same…
José: And the same issues.
Did you see this coming with José—how involved he would get in all these social and disaster relief efforts?
Patricia: With José, you never know what is coming. You have to be open to whatever comes. It’s really fun, interesting, exhausting. He’s always thinking outside the box. He has so much energy, but we don’t. My girls and I are human—and he’s not. We get tired. He has a great team at World Central Kitchen, but what is great is that José has the leadership to move a lot of people. He gets these crazy ideas that no one thinks [are] going to go anywhere. But we can all get together and do great things. His capacity is that he can do so many things at the same time. Most of the time that’s said about women. In my marriage, it’s the opposite. José is the one who multitasks. I can only do one thing.
Tell me what your typical day is like.
Patricia: There is no really typical day. We just try to get some time together. We also love to have friends over.
So your schedules are probably always crossing?
Patricia: I’m more flexible. José has, who knows what he has tomorrow?
Do you know, José?
Patricia: He checks his calendar once in a while, and thank goodness you have Satchel [his assistant], who reminds you.
What did you do today? I know you were at America Eats Tavern [in D.C.] this morning.
José: Yes, running the restaurant, making decisions, looking for ways to improve it.
So what else do you have today?
José: More restaurants. Today I’m going to speak to the [D.C.] mayor [Muriel Bowser] and all her team, about life I guess.
Patricia: Then you have a presentation for the book.
José: Today? I do?
Contributing editor Carole Sugarman is a longtime food writer and former Washington Post reporter who first wrote about José Andrés more than 20 years ago. The Bethesda Interview is edited for length and clarity.