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Chef José Andrés opens pop-up kitchen for 800K fed employees affected by shutdown

FILE - In this Oct. 26, 2015 file photo, chef Jose Andres speaks in New York. (AP Photo/Beth J. Harpaz, File)

WASHINGTON (ABC7) - Celebrity chef José Andrés stepped up many times in the past during emergencies and natural disasters, most recently in Puerto Rico and the California wildfires.

And one of the reasons why Andrés was nominated for a Nobel Peace prize two months ago.

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On Wednesday morning, he is once again ready to step up, but this time in a different kind of crisis in Washington, D.C.

“You’re working and not getting paid. Cope and hopefully it will get better soon. A real act of kindness, a person with a big heart," said Michelle White, a federal employee.

It looks like a brand new brick and mortar café that has moved into the Penn Quarter neighborhood in downtown D.C. But the reality is it is a temporary restaurant, a pop-up kitchen to feed the 800,000 federal employees and contractors who are either furloughed or working without pay. The warmth of help is comparable to the flames on the heated lamps outside of the kitchen.

“We anticipate to make some 200,000 meals a day that we are ready to prepare for," chef Tim Kilcoyne. said.

“When you say how much money you make, people still live pay check to pay check, I’m heartbroken," said Michelle Horowitz, a federal employee.

His team World Central Kitchen, will open these doors between the U.S. Capitol and the White House two blocks from the Trump Hotel.

“We are going to be open for any federal family that needs food," Andrés said.

Andrés already has a number of regular restaurants around the D.C. area, including one in Chinatown, called Jaleo. The celebrity chef was set to open one inside the Trump Hotel a few years ago but backed out of the plans after than candidate Donald Trump’s controversial comments about Mexican immigrants.

Tuesday's menu includes toasted ham and cheese sandwich with a fried egg.

This cafe will serve a rotating menu of free hot meals between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily to federal workers with valid identification along with meals for workers to take home to their families.

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