‘Life is Not a Monopoly Game’ Says José Andrés Serving Refugees on Ukrainian Border

March 1, 2022 by Kate Michael
‘Life is Not a Monopoly Game’ Says José Andrés Serving Refugees on Ukrainian Border

WASHINGTON — Harsh words came from José Andrés, a world-renowned chef from Spain who made a name for himself in his adopted hometown of Washington, D.C., as he served meals to Ukrainian refugees with his World Central Kitchen from Rzeszów, Poland.

Andrés founded WCK in 2010, after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake devastated Haiti, and has been providing support for communities in many areas of the world since. He was even nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2019.

While he has plans to enter Ukraine when it is safe to do so, WTC currently has kitchens set up at multiple sites in nations accepting Ukrainian refugees, including at Rzeszów, Medyka, and at the Rava-Ruska and Shehyni border crossings between Ukraine and Poland, where thousands of hot meals are being served.

Offerings have included soup, hot chicken stew, and apple pie.


He has said that much of the support stems from the $100 million Jeff Bezos grant he won in 2021 for his humanitarian work.

But in the late hours of the night on Feb. 28, Andrés was at the end of a long day of serving, and instead moved on to shaming.

He filmed a short video which he posted on Twitter in which he condemned Putin saying, “This is war for the sake of bullshit pride. Anybody that ever thought about saying that Putin was a good leader should be ashamed.”


With snow coming down and freezing temperatures, Andrès acknowledged those providing assistance, including food, blankets, and prayers, but criticized many governments adding, “We need to stop giving speeches and clapping and saying we are doing the best we can and start being smarter because we are making it so difficult for so many unnecessarily.”

He lamented that the “voiceless and the poor” are the ones paying the consequences for national power grabs and likened current events to an economic-themed board game.

“We cannot play life like it’s Monopoly. Life is not a Monopoly game, life is real,” Andrés said.

“Why do we put young men and women in this situation? We didn’t learn enough from the horrors of the past. People, we need to speak up against leaders that are breaking us apart. We cannot let [there be] more Putins of the world.

“The people of Poland, like all of the people of the world, are Ukrainians right now.”


Kate can be reached at [email protected]

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