Celebrity chef and University Commencement speaker José Andrés was honored Friday at the White House.
President Barack Obama recognized Andrés as an “Outstanding American by Choice” during a naturalization ceremony in which 25 members of the military, veterans and their spouses became U.S. citizens.
Andrés, who became a citizen last November, was honored as part of a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services initiative to highlight the achievements of naturalized citizens who display a commitment to civic duty.
Andrés is the founder of the World Central Kitchen, a charity he established after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. He also serves on the boards of D.C. Central Kitchen and L.A. Kitchen, which focus on hunger problems in urban areas.
Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to the president, tweeted a photo of Andrés and Obama with the message, “Congrats to @ChefJoseAndres for receiving the Outstanding American Award-he serves both delicious food & those in need.”
Andrés tweeted a similar photo, writing that he was “humbled” by the honor and “happy to be part of this great nation!”
In his remarks, Obama spoke about the 25 immigrants taking part in the ceremony and the urgency of immigration reform.
Obama vowed to “keep making our immigration system smarter and more efficient so hardworking men and women like all of you have the opportunity to join the American family and to serve our great nation.”
During his Commencement address this spring, Andrés, who immigrated from Spain 24 years ago, told graduates to reshape the American dream.
He has spoken out in favor of immigration reform in the past, notably in an op-ed in the Washington Post last December.
— José Andrés (@chefjoseandres) July 4, 2014