A Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) official slammed celebrity chef Jose Andres on Monday after he publicly criticized the agency, calling him “a businessman looking for stuff to promote his business.”
“He was very critical of us publicly and we were disappointed he took that approach,” Marty Bahamonde, director of the FEMA disaster operations division, stated. “We had a good working relationship, and we paid him a lot of money to do that work. It wasn’t volunteer work – so we were disappointed in some of his public comments.”
FEMA reportedly awarded Andres two short-term contracts worth a combined $11.5 million to help islanders recover after Hurricane Maria decimated the American territory in September. Andres’s Washington-based organization, World Central Kitchen, has been serving millions of meals to destitute Puerto Ricans since then.
Andres, however, has criticized the Trump administration’s response to the disaster, tweeting out that the federal government is “leaving the people of Puerto Rico hungry and thirsty.”
— José Andrés (@chefjoseandres) October 10, 2017
A Spanish immigrant who became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2013, Chef Andres made headlines when he canceled his planned restaurant in Trump’s D.C. hotel and refused to collaborate with The Trump Organization after Trump announced his candidacy in 2015. He cited Trump’s immigration rhetoric as his reason. Trump was forced to sue the chef for breach of contract, and the two reached a settlement in April.
FEMA said Andres was acting out of frustration that he wasn’t offered a long-term $30 million contract through the end of December.
Disputing that claim, Andres said he told FEMA shorter contacts were acceptable in the meantime.
“For them to say I was a businessman trying to make a buck, whoever said that should be very ashamed of themselves,” Andres remarked.
We are feeding the National Guard because they need hot meals and proud of it but Federal Goverment will not help us………? pic.twitter.com/1CJGlRMM2W
— José Andrés (@chefjoseandres) October 13, 2017