Jose Andres became a U.S. citizen in Baltimore on November 13th, after 23 years of residence in the United States. The Spanish-born celebrity chef and his wife took the citizenship oath, then tweeted the happy news: “People of America! 4 hours ago my wife and I became AMERICAN CITIZENS… thanks to all for being part of our world!”

“I feel like a virgin — in a good way,” he told the Washington Post that night. During the ceremony, he said, “me and my wife began crying. I wish more people were able to see this. It’s very powerful.”

Andres plans to celebrate his new status in style over the next few weeks. “It’s very important because the country is talking about immigration reform. I need to make sure everybody understands that many immigrants like me — given the right opportunity like I was given — we can have a positive impact in this amazing country.”