The Spanish Navy acknowledges the humanitarian endeavors of Chef José Andrés with the Grand Cross of Naval Merit.

Monday, May 13, 2024

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The Minister of Defense awards the Grand Cross of Naval Merit to Chef José Andrés.
The Minister of Defense awards the Grand Cross of Naval Merit to Chef José Andrés.
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The Minister of Defense awards the Grand Cross of Naval Merit to Chef José Andrés.
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Decorated personnel with the Grand Cross of Naval Merit.
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The Chief of Staff of the Spanish Navy during his speech.

In a poignant ceremony held at the Navy Headquarters last Thursday, May 9, chef José Andrés received the Grand Cross of Naval Merit awarded by the Minister of Defense. Margarita Robles, who was accompanied by the Chief of Staff of the Spanish Navy (AJEMA), Admiral General Antonio Piñeiro Sánchez, among other military authorities.

José Andrés, internationally recognized for his humanitarian work through his NGO World Central Kitchen, was awarded the decoration for his commitment and solidarity in times of need. His contribution ranges from food aid in global crises, to more specific endeavors, such as his participation, along with Spanish marines, in the distribution of food in the aftermath of the earthquake in Turkey in 2023.

José Andrés' special connection with the Navy dates back to his military service on the training ship ‘Juan Sebastián Elcano’, thus maintaining a deep relationship with the naval institution.

In the ceremony, the Minister of Defense, Margarita Robles, expressed her recognition to the military men and women of the Spanish Navy, as well as other civilians, for their commitment to peace and their altruistic dedication. In particular, she paid tribute to chef José Andrés. The minister emphasized that these decorations are a tribute to those who work for peace and humanitarian values, ensuring that wherever a member of the Navy or the Armed Forces is posted, there will be someone committed to a more just and peaceful world.

For his part, the AJEMA, also stressed the commitment and work of those being awarded, as well as the importance of recognizing the individual and collective effort in the fulfilment of their duty.

The Admiral expressed his gratitude to the Minister of Defense for her presence, and also made a special mention to chef José Andrés, saying that: ‘Since you became part of our great family aboard the Juan Sebastián de Elcano at the end of the eighties, different units of the Navy have had the opportunity to coincide with you in humanitarian aid operations, such as recently, in the earthquake that devastated Turkey and Syria. On all these occasions our people have been able to see “on the ground” the enormous drive of those who move with the conviction to help others even when the situation is dangerous or desperate, but also the enthusiasm, respect and admiration you show for the work of the Armed Forces in general, and the Navy in particular'.

Admiral Piñeiro also remembered the recently killed collaborators of World Central Kitchen saying: ‘today, all members of the Spanish Navy recognize your endeavors and the enormous sacrifice that Saifeddin, Zomi, Damian, Jacob, John, Jim and James performed trying to bring help and relief in that troubled part of the world’. He underlined their courage and dedication in seeking to help those most in need, even in such dangerous scenarios.

After a personal recognition to each one of those receiving the naval cross highlighting their dedication and contribution to the service of Spain, he concluded by also expressing his gratitude to their families since their role is fundamental in the support and daily sacrifice of those who serve their nation.


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