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José Andrés and Stephen Colbert cook some Thanksgiving fish with their salt

The World Central Kitchen chef and philanthropist also shows Colbert how to dangle his sherry

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Stephen Colbert, Chef José Andrés
Stephen Colbert, Chef José Andrés
Screenshot: The Late Show

It’s tough to imagine someone more tuned in to the world’s needs than celebrity chef José Andrés. With his World Central Kitchen, Andrés tirelessly swoops in to feed people all over the world after natural or man-made disasters, all while finding every camera within range to preach his garrulous gospel of good food and good intentions. Honestly, it’s one thing to raise money for those in trouble, but Andrés knows that what people in tough situations everywhere really need is some damned good food.

That even includes the presumably not all that needy audience members at Stephen Colbert’s Late Show, where Andrés taught Colbert how to cook a deliciously nontraditional Thanksgiving dinner, while pledging that everyone in attendance at the Ed Sullivan Theater that night can get a free meal for their entire family at any of the award-winning chef’s restaurants for the low, low price of their Late Show ticket stub. (Tickets to The Late Show are free, which is about as good a deal on a gourmet meal as you’ll get anywhere.)

Appearing inside the Sullivan Theater for a change, Andrés first told Colbert that his plan for this Thanksgiving meal isn’t just any old boring turkey. Explaining that he’s bringing “the tradition outside the tradition” (in the form of a salt-encrusted American red snapper entrée), ever-proud immigrant Andrés, with characteristic energy, enthused, “This is America! That’s why you let people like me come in, to bring new traditions to mix with the old traditions!”


That’s why Andrés first had Colbert try to precariously plumb the depths for his traditional Thanksgiving booze, bringing along a pair of venecias for the occasion. The long and wobbly-stemmed serving utensil is, as high-end boozehounds the world over know, the time-honored tool of the Spanish Venenciador, whose job it is to bring your precious sherry to your waiting glass in the most maddeningly elaborate manner possible.

Colbert did fine, honestly, splooshing a fair amount of Andrés’ cask sherry into his glass, while only feeding a fair amount to the stage floor. And check out the long and storied history of Spanish people breathlessly hoping their Venenciador knows his business here, should you want to learn the true meaning of the sentence, “When samples of the content of each butt are required for tasting they are extracted through this bung-hole, known as the bojo of the butt.”


While preparing that snapper (by encasing it entirely in sea salt, which Andrés assured Colbert was great for people on low-salt diets, somehow), the World Central Kitchen foodie philanthropist and guy who loves telling xenophobic jerk Donald Trump where to stuff it explained his charity’s latest, climate change-related direction. Boasting of his plan to “take care of every single person that may suffer with climate change,” Andres told Colbert that he’s well on his way to raising his Climate Disaster Fund’s fundraising goal of a billion dollars. (Apparently billionaire Jeff Bezos has chipped in a hundred mil rather than strap himself in for another space tourist stunt, so that’s nice.)

For Andrés, food is life, and, producing a salt-cocooned turkey for Colbert alongside his own tender-looking snapper, the all-around enthusiast noted, with relish, “This is the beauty of ‘we the people.’ This is the beauty of America. Be who you want to be, but always respecting each other, loving each other.” And, apparently also ripping into some fish and/or turkey with your bare hands and sloshing down some vintage wine poured from a great height. Salud!