Josh Cellars and Chef Andre Rush support Operation Gratitude

Gratitude can be a gesture conveying a heartfelt message beyond a simple action. Josh Cellars and Chef Andres Rush partnership exemplifies that meaning.

Thank you. Two words can be more than just a casual phrase, simple gesture or just the salutation of in an email. For service men, women, families and first responders those two words can boost morale, procure a smile or otherwise make a difference in just one small phrase. Josh Cellars and Chef Andre Rush want everyone to embrace at moment of thanks and learn about Operation Gratitude.

Josh Cellars is a celebrated wine brand who has used its business to support numerous charitable endeavors. The brand was founded as a tribute to the winemaker’s father, who was an Army veteran, volunteer firefighter and community service leader. With his father’s dedication to service in mind, the wine company looks for ways that wine can support various community causes.

Chef Andre Rush is an Army veteran and celebrated chef. While he might be known for his impressive 24-inch biceps, Chef Andre uses his big personality as a platform to raise awareness for PTSD and military causes.

Recently, Chef Andre and Josh Cellars announced a partnership for the summer. The wine maker has created a Limited Edition Military Salute Edition of its Lodi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. Now through September, the wine brand will donate $1 to Operation Gratitude for each Limited Edition Military Salute Edition of its Lodi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon sold.

Operation Gratitude has a simple, yet profound mission. The organization seeks “to forge strong bonds between Americans and their Military and First Responder heroes through volunteer service projects, acts of gratitude, and meaningful engagements in communities nationwide.” From sending care packages to encouraging people to say thank you, this organization shows that a simple gesture can have tremendous impact.

As summer begins, purchasing a couple of bottles of wine and supporting a valiant cause will make a festive start to the season. The Limited Edition Military Salute Edition Lodi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is described as a very sippable wine. Red fruit and berries are strong while the wine has additional touch of warm cinnamon.

Overall, this wine goes well with almost anything that would be served at a summer party. From a hearty steak to even a grilled fruit dessert, the options are many. It is definitely a wine to have in the house this summer.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MAY 21: General view as Josh Cellars unveils First Military Salute Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon in partnership with Operation Gratitude and Chef Andre Rush on May 21, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for Josh Cellars)

As part of this partnership launch, Josh Cellars gave me the opportunity to chat with Chef Andre Rush. From his impressive biceps to his love of cooking, he provided much insight to his love of food and his commitment to helping military causes.

Below is a transcript of our conversation.

Cristine Struble: Why did you choose to become a chef?

Chef Andre Rush: My mother. I was extraordinary as a kid – I played football, ran track, received scholarships. But my dad taught us that boys go to work, and girls go to school, and I decided to join the military. While I was in the military, I couldn’t forget about my mom and cooking together growing up. When I became a chef, I was shunned. But I wanted to do something bigger and better because people told me I couldn’t do it. Now, I have the privilege to represent the culinary aspect of the business. Some chefs use cooking as a part of therapy when overcoming PTSD, and I’m honored and proud to be a chef representing something people don’t typically think of as cool.

CS: What flavor combinations pair well with the Limited-Edition Military Salute Edition Lodi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon?

AR: The thing about this Cabernet Sauvignon is that it’s so diverse, yet balanced. It’s delicious, with flavors of vanilla, blueberries and blackberries. These flavors pair well with so many profiles from compotes to sauces! I even like to chill it slightly to enjoy in the summertime. It’s the perfect drink to sip throughout the summer.

CS: When deciding on a menu for a party, how important are flavors and/or pairings that have wide appeal to all your guests?

AR: Flavor profiles and pleasing the guests is extremely important. To cater to the masses at a party, I like to be whimsical when creating dishes. I cook things that will make people wonder before they taste!

CS: Some people are scared by a Cabernet Sauvignon’s big, bold flavors, how can a wine novice learn to appreciate those robust flavors?

AR: This is a great question. A lot of wine novices are not wine drinkers. They must appreciate the wine itself, and that’s what’s so great about the Josh Cellars Limited-Edition Military Salute Edition Lodi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. Although it’s a Cabernet Sauvignon, you don’t have that “bam” profile you typically taste with other Cabernet Sauvignons. The vanilla and berries make it unique. It’s important to find what works best for you, and Josh Cellars is a great option to start learning more about robust flavors.

CS: Are there any similarities to running a White House dinner service and cooking at home?

AR: I don’t cook at home! I do eat 4-whole chickens a day and 24 boiled eggs – 22 whites, 2 yolks. Whether I am cooking for friends and family, cooking at the White House for the President or cooking for the homeless, I always maintain the same level of excellence, it doesn’t matter who I’m cooking for.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MAY 21: Andre Rush speaks as Josh Cellars unveils First Military Salute Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon in partnership with Operation Gratitude and Chef Andre Rush on May 21, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for Josh Cellars)

CS: Why is this partnership with Josh Cellars important to you?

AR: For so many different reasons! With the Limited-Edition Military Salute Edition Lodi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Josh Cellars partnered with Operation Gratitude, a non-profit that provides care packages to members of the military, to donate $1 for every bottle purchased from May – September to Operation Gratitude (up to $240,000). I experienced Operation Gratitude first-hand when I was in Iraq. It was like getting a special gift, not just for me personally, but seeing young soldiers appreciate the care packages as well. The cause is incredible, and the reward is a million times more incredible, and I’m happy to do everything I can to be a part of it!

CS: Military families make tremendous sacrifices, what can a civilian family do to honor military families?

AR: There are a lot of organizations for civilian families to be involved in, like Operation Gratitude for one. It’s important to support the masses, if a family wants to give back, it’s important to support the full military family, not just the person fighting. Showing support by doing something that has a cause, that can help either the masses or an individual, even if it’s only one person – it has a domino effect. It’s important to pay it forward. Trying to help military families be better at whatever they’re doing and going through will honor them greatly.

CS: Why is it important to give back to other members of the military community?

AR: It’s important to give back to those who sacrificed their lives and served for their country. I’ve spoken to people who are amputees, and they will never get their lives back or be the same person they were before the military. Even the ones that look normal can be the ones going through the most mentally, whether it’s PTSD, anxiety or other things, it’s a lot different than civilian life. Being part of the military, we go through things that people go through in their everyday life, but our experiences are that much more heightened and as a result, their lives are forever changed.

CS: What is the significance to the 2,222 push-ups? Why that particular number?

AR: It’s more than a workout, it’s my cause. 22 vets commit suicide a day. 22 wasn’t a big enough number for me though. I wanted to do something bigger and it’s a small part of me giving back. It takes me an hour and 15 minutes to complete them, I do – 125-150 at a time, take a quick break then repeat. I’m so happy to be working with Josh Cellars and Operation Gratitude for this wonderful cause and to do my service by giving back to this country and to my brothers and sisters in arms.

I would like to thank Chef Andre Rush for speaking with me and Josh Cellars for facilitating this interview.

This summer take a moment to express your gratitude to all the service men, women and families who bravely sacrifice.

Even just the purchase of a couple bottles of Limited Edition Military Salute Edition Lodi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon can help make a difference.

Related Story: How do you dress up ugly produce?

How to you express your gratitude? Maybe it is time to open a bottle of wine and chat about it.

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