Jose Andres: America Eats

Global-cuisine trotting Jose Andres is a man looking for challenges. After his recent win as Outstanding Chef at the James Beard Awards, he announced today that his ThinkFoodGroup is partnering with Foundation for the National Archives in support of the National Archives‘ exhibit, What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam? The Governments Effect on the American Diet, opening June 10th, 2011, in Washington, DC (June 10, 2011- January 3, 2012).

Jose’s Café Atlantico will be closed and transformed into a new pop up restaurant celebrating American food. He will find a new location for Café Atlantico, which has already moved several times before:

At America Eats Tavern, opening July 4th 2011, José Andrés will apply his innovative style to an American restaurant; his first new restaurant concept in Washington since opening in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Named after the Works Progress Administration (WPA) writers project of the 1930s, America Eats will offer a new take on American classics and celebrate native ingredients and some long forgotten dishes, from burgoo to oysters Rockefeller.

Using the huge space effectively, there will be a casual tavern menu on the ground floor, while a more refined and elegant menu will be featured on the second and third floors. Minibar by josé andrés will continue to operate its six-seat bar on the second floor of the new America Eats. Jose plans to expand Minibar when a new Café Atlantico opens.

The relationship between America Eats and the National Archives is a bit complicated:

America Eats will also be a six-month “benefit” destination in support the National Archives Experience exhibition program. Profits gained from the restaurant during the run of the What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam? exhibit will be donated to The Foundation for the National Archives. To bring this restaurant to life, José Andrés’ ThinkFoodGroup is partnering with sponsors such as the Dole Food Company to support its philanthropic goals, and to aid in the effort to promote awareness and discussion on national food policies and health and nutrition issues.

So, the restaurant fits in to administration –that is Michelle Obama’s focus on nutrition.

It is not surprising that a Spanish chef should choose to cook in the American idiom. Many celebrity chefs move from their native cuisine to embrace American classics – Marcus Samuelsson, Woflgang Puck, Jean-Georges Vongerichten to name a few. The challenge is not just to tweak American classics, but also to re-interpret them as contemporary food.

Other news:
Washington Business Journal
Washington Post
Washington City Paper
Washington Examiner
Associated Press

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