José Andrés to become U.S. citizen soon, regardless of shutdown. (Plus: free sandwiches)

October 1, 2013

Jose Andres (Alex Baldinger / The Washington Post)

José Andrés is on track to become a U.S. citizen soon — government shutdown or no government shutdown.

The Spanish-born chef — one of the nation’s leading culinary minds, who has made his home in Washington for more than 20 years — told us Tuesday he and his wife Patricia have completed all the required tests and interviews to make it official.

“We’ve done the whole process,” he said, “and the last thing is still the swearing-in.”

Well, we’ll definitely want to crash the afterparty for that naturalization ceremony! Andrés said they’re still trying to schedule a time or place for their Oath of Allegiance, but it’s clearly been on his mind: Late Monday, while watching news coverage of the pre-shutdown frenzy from a business trip in Boston, Andres shared a concern with his 207K Twitter followers:

Actually, it might not be as dire as that: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is one of the few agencies that is expected to operate at nearly full strength, thanks to its fee-based funding. Andrés and his staff are still working out the details.

And Andrés, who owns seven D.C.-area restaurants, soon followed up with another tweet that got even more attention, promising a free sandwich this afternoon to federal employees at his Jaleo, Zaytinya and Oyamel restasurants.

(** Other restaurants offering free food to the furloughed **)

“I’m in business thanks to many of those people. If what I have to do is share a sandwich to lift someone’s spirits, put a smile on their face — the worst thing that happens is I go broke!” he told us. “I’m a different immigrant,” he added. “My life is so lucky compared to so many.”

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