How Many Restaurants Does José Andrés Actually Own?

If the name José Andrés didn't ring a bell a few years ago, it would be easy to chalk it up to your level of interest in celebrity chefs. Love 'em or hate 'em, they're everywhere. A byproduct of the success of culinary programming that found an audience at the dawn of the cable television era, celebrity chefs — talented cooks with TV-friendly personalities — rose through the ranks at an accelerated rate. Think Emeril Lagasse, Guy Fieri, and Rachael Ray (via NPR) — wave upon wave of instant celebrities capitalizing on their new-found fame with branded products, cookbooks, television deals, and self-named restaurants.

José Andrés is not one of those chefs. While celebrity chefs were busy racking up Emmys, Andrés was quietly honing his skills, opening restaurants, and earning praise for his humanitarian efforts, notes Explore Las Vegas, including being named one of TIME Magazine's 100 most influential people (2012), teaching at George Washington University, and receiving former President Barack Obama's acknowledgement as an Outstanding American Citizen by Choice (2014). He was also busy founding World Central Kitchen, an international humanitarian aid organization that provides food relief during times of crisis. And he still managed to open and run dozens of award-winning restaurants.

A road well traveled

In a 2010 segment on CBS-TV's "60 Minutes," Anderson Cooper shared José Andrés self-description as a "pilgrim from Spain." Born in 1969, the self-made restaurant mogul and humanitarian arrived in the United States in 1991 with just $50 and a set of cooking knives (via YouTube).

According to PBS, the chef/owner of ThinkFoodGroup, the parent company for his current-day business ventures, was 15 when he embraced a culinary career. Andrés attended culinary school in Barcelona and advanced his skills during stints at Michelin-starred restaurants before emigrating to the United States where he made a name for himself as a leader in the introduction of tapas-style dining to U.S. consumers.

When he received the National Humanities Medal in 2015, the National Endowment for the Humanities recognized Andrés for his role as an international culinary influencer, citing everything from the opening of his first restaurant, Zaytinya, a Mediterranean-influenced small-plate dining experience, to his impressive roster of awards and accolades.

At last count, Andrés owned and operated 31 dining establishments, including everything from food trucks and fast-casual venues to Michelin-rated restaurants (one two-star and four Bib Gourmands) offering world-class dining experiences, according to The Bazaar. Oh, and along the way, Andrés embraced the benefits of building a wider audience via film and television. In addition to a host of appearances on food, talk, and news programs over the years, his humanitarian work was the subject of a 2022 Disney+ documentary, "We Feed People," directed by Ron Howard (via The New Yorker).