What You Need to Know: José Andrés

Chef José Andrés hears plight of lunch lady fired after giving lunch to student who couldn’t pay

Chef José Andrés is known for his humanitarian efforts, now he appears to want to help a lunch lady who recently found herself fired.

Bonnie Kimball worked at Mascoma Valley Regional High School. She allowed a student to take $8 worth of food, despite not having money in his school lunch account.

“I quietly said, ‘Tell (your) mom you need money,” Kimball told the Valley News.

The district manager watched the March 28 incident and Kimball was fired the next day.

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The company she worked for, Cafe Services, which contracted with the school to run the cafeteria, sent Kimball a letter outlining why she was fired.

“On March 28, a District manager was on-site and witnessed a student coming through the line with multiple food items that you did not charge him for,” the letter read according to the Valley News. “This is a strict violation of our Cash Handling Procedures, the Schools Charge Policy and Federal Regulation governing free meals.”

>>Read: New Hampshire school cafeteria worker fired for giving food to student who couldn't pay

New Hampshire School Cafeteria Worker Fired For Giving Food To Student Who Couldn’t Immediately Pay

News of the woman’s firing made its way to Andrés, who is known not only for his restaurants but also for his humanitarian outreach.

Andrés has fed families hit hard by flooding in Nebraska, as well as those in Texas, Florida and North Carolina after hurricanes decimated regions there. His teams have also fed people in Guatemala and Hawaii after volcanoes and refugees stranded in Tijuana. He also helped feed federal workers during the weekslong government shutdown, Fortune magazine reported.

After Haiti was damaged by an earthquake in 2010, Andrés started the nonprofit World Central Kitchen to help those in need. 

On Friday, he tweeted about Kimball’s firing, saying that there are job openings at his Think Food Group


Andrés’ followers posted praise for the chef online.

Chef Jose Andres is interviewed at a reception where he was presented with a ceremonial key to the Las Vegas Strip to recognize his contributions to the Las Vegas culinary scene as well as for his philanthropic and humanitarian efforts at his restaurant, Bazaar Meat by Jose Andres, at SLS Las Vegas Hotel on April 26, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Andres, the founder of the nonprofit organization World Central Kitchen, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by U.S. Rep. John Delaney (D-MD) for his efforts in feeding victims after natural disasters including wildfires, floods and in particular, in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.
Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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