José Andres, who has a successful chain of restaurants in the United States and appears regularly on US television, has said “no, gracias” to opening a restaurant in an exclusive new Trump hotel, due to open in 2016.
“The recent derogatory comments made by Donald Trump about immigrants have made it impossible for my business and me to continue with the opening of a Spanish restaurant in the Trump International Hotel in Washington,” the chef said in a statement released to Spanish daily, El País.
Trump is due to open the hotel, which boasts views of the White House, in 2016.
José Andrés was born in Mieres, a town in the province of Asturias in northern Spain. He trained under renowned chef Ferrán Adrià at elBulli, which was named the world's best restaurant a record-breaking five times before it closed in 2011.
Andrés took US citizenship in 2013 and has often spoken of his pride of being an immigrant in the United States.
“More than half of my team is Hispanic, as well as many of our clients,” the chef told El País.
“And as a proud Spanish immigrant, who recently obtained citizenship, I firmly believe that every human being deserves respect, regardless of immigration status,” he added.
Andrés is just the latest in a long line of Trump associates distancing themselves from the businessman-turned-presidential-candidate since his anti-immigration comments caused a storm of controversy.
“They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists,” Trump said of Mexican immigrants in the United States.
Television channels Univisión and NBC have also decided to cut ties with Trump, announcing they would not broadcast the Miss USA and Miss Universe beauty pageants, co-owned by Trump.
According to US media, Trump is contemplating suing Andrés for breach of contract; he had reportedly signed on to operate the restaurant for a period of ten years.
While Andrés could face a legal battle with Trump, many people have come out in support of the Spanish chef, with US food writer and television presenter Anthony Bourdain tweeting “People of America! My hero!”
— Anthony Bourdain (@Bourdain) July 8, 2015
Andrés also recently made headlines when he saved the life of a man choking on a sausage.