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Chef José Andrés Launches


By Sean-Patrick M. Hillman

Any passionate pet parent knows that their furrbaby is a member of the family. We all cater to them as if they were our children. Sadly, there are a lot of people in the world who don’t look at pets that way. But there is one very famous gentleman who does understand this special relationship. He has long been known for his astonishingly delicious cuisine and humanitarian efforts. Last year, this gentleman launched a new, incredible, pet food brand that is designed around heightening the meal experience for the ENTIRE family, including Fido! That gentleman’s name is Chef José Andrés. That brand is called REÁL MESA™.

For those who don’t know, Chef José Andrés is one of the world’s most lauded, celebrated and awarded chefs. His talent in the kitchen is the stuff that legend is made of. People from all walks of life frequent his culinary meccas at iconic outposts such as Jaleo, The Bazaar by José Andrés, Zaytinya, San Laurel and many many more. And Chef José Andrés is famous for his compassion, love for life and passion for humanity. So how does a world renowned, celebrated, and award-winning Chef decide to get into the pet food game, a segment of the business that is typically left to less discerning, mass market, palates? According to Chef José Andrés, the value of feeding the family, including pets, delicious and healthy meals stem from his early childhood memories of his Father cooking using ingredients of Spain.

We hear that the James Beard Foundation 2018 Humanitarian of the Year began developing the idea for REÁL MESA around the one place you might expect, a dinner table. With a group of his friends, all of whom are pet lovers, Chef struck up a conversation about the commitment to the power of food and how it can bring communities and families together. And with Chef’s philosophies around family and togetherness, that conversation amongst friends included the family pet. Clearly this particular evening sat with Chef for some time, beginning to lay the foundation for what has become an incredible new platform for the man who was named as one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People.”

Once the COVID-19 pandemic hit, everything changed, for everyone. You may recall that during the historic shutdowns and mandates from 2020 – 2023, World Central Kitchen became a focal point of relief for frontliners, first responders and the New York National Guard in New York City. For those who don’t know, World Central Kitchen was founded in 2010 by Chef José Andrés as a not-for-profit non-governmental organization that is first to the frontlines, providing fresh meals in response to humanitarian, climate, and community crises. Ever since then, World Central Kitchen has been at the forefront of every natural disaster you can think of and in times of dire need, especially during COVID-19.

According to a statement made last year by the Chef, the idea for REÁL MESA started to really form during the pandemic when Chef witnessed the impact that good, nutritious meals can have on a community, including displaced pets through his work with World Central Kitchen.  

Determined to nourish these connections in pet families everywhere, REÁL MESA was born. In Spanish, REÁL MESA™ means royal table. The brand aims to bring people and their pets around the table, inviting them to partake in family, food, and connection. Chef José Andrés tells Pet Lifestyles Magazine, “Dogs give us so much love. It is only fair that we give them the best food we can with the quality of ingredients and care we would give anyone in our family. With recipes inspired by some of my favorite dishes and curated by me and my culinary team, REÁL MESA™ is passion put into practice.”  

All of REÁL MESA™ offerings are designed with your pet in mind. These culinary recipes curated by Chef José Andrés and his team, feature Mediterranean-inspired ingredients and weave them into deliciously healthy recipes your pet will love.  

Chef Jose’s culinary team worked alongside the REÁL MESA expert pet food formulators to develop recipes that deliver the textures and flavors of authentic Mediterranean dishes, while bringing optimal pet nutrition and healthy balance to the recipes. Using ingredients such as real chicken, wild-caught salmon, brown rice, chickpeas, carrots, figs, kale and a proprietary blend of herbs and spices, REÁL MESA™ packs in a nutritious and flavorful punch in every bite.  

Products are available for dogs of any age, with one puppy and three adult main meals in recipes like Mediterranean Chicken & Rice Entrée and Wild Caught Salmon Feast. Pets can also enjoy treats and toppers in a variety of flavors like Lamb Recipe Bites and Chicken Kabobs.

One key factor in developing the brand was in thinking through the experiential differences between human and canine in terms of smell and taste. Dogs typically will shy away from overly processed foods because of the preservatives being used. So a cornerstone of the brand is about understanding the way pets smell and taste freshness and flavor, including the amazing range of vegetables and the satisfaction of proteins.  

Designing these meal experiences was an exciting and collaborative effort between Chef and their expert pet food formulators. According to the company, starting with inspiration from Chef’s favorite meals and focusing on the textures, flavors and ingredients that are so important to these authentic Mediterranean dishes, they worked with their formulators to ensure they were bringing optimal nutrition and balance to the recipes and including only ingredients that are beneficial for dogs.  

Then came the testing process to determine the interest of pet parents in purchasing REAL MESA products. The culinary team worked with their formulation experts to identify the right ingredients and finalize recipes that delivered on their mission to celebrate Mediterranean fare and deliver balanced nutrition for dogs.  

When they got down to the rounds of testing with actual pet parents, the team could not believe the results; almost 70% of pet lovers they tested were either extremely or very interested in these Mediterranean-inspired recipes for their dogs. It was a real win for Chef and his team as it vindicated everything, they had been working so hard to achieve. Then they began extrapolating on other formats of foods for dogs. 

Then the team began thinking about those moments when your little furrever one’s belly is growling but it isn’t mealtime, or when you just want to give them a treat for being good. That led to REÁL MESA™ treats. They are a healthy, high-quality, natural option for your pet. They are made in small batches with minimal ingredients, ensuring a delicious and nutritious snack.

During a Q&A session late last year, Chef was asked: “What makes the bond between humans and pets so special? Why take such care in delicately curating recipes to feed and nurture these bonds?”  

Chef’s response, “Our pets are our family. They may eat different food than we do, but pets deserve to eat the food they love, too and we don’t just make food with ingredients. We make it with love; it is a way to show that we care for everyone at our table - pets and humans alike.”

Now you know a business is going down the right path when every member of the team echoes the very sentiments found in the DNA of a brand. According to REÁL MESA™’s Chief Marketing Officer Tierney Monaco, “As a team of animal lovers, we know how much joy pets can bring. It’s our mission to bring families, including dogs, together over a delicious meal. We look forward to feeding the relationship with our beloved pets and contributing to endless evenings of laughter, joy and togetherness.”  

According to the brand, all REÁL MESA™ are made in the USA with the finest global ingredients and are free of artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. In addition, none of the recipes contain corn, wheat or soy. 

To further support communities around the world, a portion of every REÁL MESA™ purchase will be contributed to World Central Kitchen.  

When we asked Chef if he wanted to make a final comment on his delicious and amazing brand, he stated, “It’s our mission to bring families, including pets, together over a delicious meal. We do this through the love and care we put into the product.”

Truer words could not be spoken. It is as clear as day to this journalist that Chef José’s philosophy of strengthening connections through the power of delicious food that is sourced responsibly and made from high-quality ingredients was omni-present in not only the creation of this brand, but also in everything the brand does.  

In summary, REÁL MESA™ was founded in 2022, and launched in late 2023. REÁL MESA™ is a Mediterranean-inspired dog food brand that features chef-curated recipes and high-quality ingredients pets love and their owners are confident in. REÁL MESA™’s mission is to nourish the relationships between families and their pets through elevated meal experiences. To accomplish this goal, the brand partners with world-renowned Chef José Andrés to curate high-end recipes and utilizes high-quality ingredients to bring the number one human diet to pet’s plates.  

To learn more about this all-new, Mediterranean-inspired pet food brand, visit
You can purchase REÁL MESA™ through, and other fine retailers.