There is 17 year old Ali Allouche who is battling cancer for the second time, loves to cook. He and his mother are on a cross-country trip in which both will try to visit as many restaurants as they can in every state. A D.C. based charity organization called Invisible Hand came to know about Allouche’s journey and passed his story along to chef José Andrés, who invited the Allouche over to his home for dinner.
José Andrés told WUSA9 that “I think that what people like Ali show to people like us is that every second counts,”. Andrés, also ran a humanitarian campaign with World Central Kitchen to feed the people of Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria, must have been moved by Allouche’s story, because he invited his entire family, including his mother, stepfather, their six children, and his grandfather over for dinner at his personal residence. During the dinner, Andrés also arranged a Facetime call between the teenager and Anthony Bourdain, who Allouche says inspired him to travel across the country. Bourdain earlier had donated $3,600 to a Gofundme account set up to finance his travels. He also called Emeril Lagasse, allowing Allouche to chat with two of his cooking heroes during the dinner. Allouche was also able to take a cooking class with Chef Sebastian Giannini back in December.
“I’m just overwhelmed by it all,” Allouche told WUSA9.
José Andrés further said, “Food has this huge power to make you make you forget, to make you dream, to be hopeful. I’m very happy Ali is having this connection with food.”