During the partial shutdown, celebrity chef José Andrés is inviting all furloughed government employees to come to one of his D.C. restaurants for a free sandwich.

On December 21, six federal departments ran out of funding, leaving about 800,000 employees without pay during the holidays. With no end in sight, the partial shutdown has dampened the holidays and worried many families simply trying to make ends meet. However, one celebrity chef is offering a glimmer of hope and a sparkle of joy during the holiday season.

Chef José Andrés, named one of Time Magazine's "100 Most Influential People" in both 2012 and 2018, reached out to all of the furloughed employees in Washington, D.C., with a warm and welcoming tweet. The message was a reply to Trump’s tweet about the longlasting government shutdown and called for every federal worker to come together in one of his restaurants for a free meal.

He tweeted: “I will offer again Free Sandwiches to the poor men and women of the federal government, republicans, and democrats, at every restaurant of mine in D.C. for lunch until they get paid again!”

During a time of giving, Chef Andrés is showing the true meaning of the holiday season. He is bringing together people of all walks of life, regardless of race, gender, or political background, for a free meal on him. Generously donating his culinary success to people in need, he's spreading the spirit of the holidays in a time where many people feel lost. 

Chef Andrés is a Spanish-American chef known for bringing the concept of tapas to America. He also taught a culinary physics course at Harvard University and opened his first tapas restaurant, Jaleo, in 1993. He now owns 31 avant-garde dining establishments across the nation, including six gourmet restaurants in Washington, D.C.

Apart from his culinary crusade, Andrés is also known for tackling natural disasters and humanitarian crises through his nonprofit, World Central Kitchen. The organization is currently feeding Central American refugees in Tijuana, Mexico, and they have also traveled to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria and to California during the wildfires. In fact, this isn’t the first time Chef Andrés opened his restaurants to federal workers in need. He also invited government employees to come to his restaurants for a free meal during the 2013 federal shutdown.

What You Need to Know for Your Free Lunch

If you are a federal worker that has been impacted by the partial shutdown, you can visit one of Andres’ six Washington, D.C., restaurants for a free sandwich during lunch hours. The participating restaurants include barmini by Jose Andres, Beefsteak, China Chilcano, Jaleo DC, Oyamel, and Zaytinya. Andrés promises that he will honor the free meals until the shutdown is over and federal employees are paid again.

So, will you be heading to one of Andres’ many delicious restaurants for your free meal? Let us know about your experience in the comments!

Here's which tourist sites will be staying open during the shutdown.

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