Jose Andres’ World Central Kitchen pauses Gaza operations following killings of 7 aid workers

The humanitarian organization, founded by the chef and restaurateur in 2010, said it would soon make decisions about its future relief efforts in the region.
A World Central Kitchen aid worker delivers food in Gaza. | Photo courtesy: World Central Kitchen.

Chef and restaurateur Jose Andres was among those mourning the deaths of seven World Central Kitchen (WCK) aid workers Monday, following an air attack in Gaza. WCK said it would immediately pause its relief efforts in the region.

Andres founded the humanitarian organization in 2010 and it has since become well known for its efforts to feed people on the frontlines of wars, disasters and other tragedies.

WCK and others blamed the deaths on an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) air strike in a “deconflicted zone.” The IDF said it is investigating the incident.

The aid workers had coordinated their movements with the IDF but the WCK convoy was hit as it was leaving the Deir al-Balah warehouse, where it had recently unloaded more than 100 tons of food aid brought to Gaza via a maritime route, WCK said.

“I am heartbroken and grieving for their families and friends and our whole WCK family,” Andres said on X, formerly Twitter. “These are people … angels … I served alongside in Ukraine, Gaza, Turkey, Morocco, Bahamas, Indonesia. They are not faceless … they are not nameless.”

The slain aid workers are citizens of Australia, Poland, the United Kingdom and Palestine. One was a dual citizen of the U.S. and Canada, WCK said.

“This is not only an attack against WCK, this is an attack on humanitarian organizations showing up in the most dire of situations where food is being used as a weapon of war,” WCK CEO Erin Gore said in a statement.

The humanitarian group said it would soon make decisions about the future of its work in the region.

Andres operates nearly 20 different restaurant concepts such as Jaleo, The Bazaar and Beefsteak, some with multiple locations, around the country, all with a mission to “change the world through the power of food,” according to his website.

More than 31,000 people have died in Gaza since an Oct. 7 terrorist attack in Israel ignited widespread violence and, increasingly, famine in the region.

“The Israeli government needs to stop this indiscriminate killing,” Andres said on X. “It needs to stop restricting humanitarian aid, stop killing civilians and aid workers, and stop using food as a weapon. No more innocent lives lost. Peace starts with our shared humanity. It needs to start now.”

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