the haute cuisine recipe to take care of the planet

The great gastronomic guides have joined sustainability in 2021. In its latest edition, the famous Michelin incorporated for the first time a Green star between its categories. With her they have wanted to recognize the work of 21 cooks from Spain and Portugal for their good resource management and waste disposal. The Repsol Guide has also joined in with this restoration committed to nature and has introduced in its edition this spring the distinction Sustainable Sun.

The first winner was Eneko Atxa for his restaurant Azurmendi. Its construction respects the standards of the so-called bioclimatic architecture and is powered by renewable energy. In addition, it houses the largest germplasm bank in the Basque Country with 400 types of seeds of local varieties on the verge of disappearing.

Seasonal ‘kilometer zero’ cuisine and fair and sustainable trade products are the trends that restaurants are implementing

That he environmental commitment is in vogue among the great chefs is something that has been seen in the last edition of Madrid Fusión Alimentos de España. During the appointment there was a lot of talk about autochthonous varieties or use cuisine. I did, for example, Maria Solivellas (from the Ca Na Toneta restaurant in Mallorca) when talking about the Tap de Cortí pepper that she herself has helped to recover. Also they Roca brothers (from El Celler de Can Roca) showed everything that a pepper leaf can give of itself. The cook of the sea, as he is known Angel Leon, made public its new project to create the first seagrass seed bank.

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Eneko Atxa, chef at the Azurmendi restaurant, has been the first recipient of the ‘Sustainable Sun’. (Flickr)

For its part, the Repsol guide presented the certificate of “Efficient and sustainable cuisine”. This initiative, developed together with Aenor, allows the restaurant that wishes to carry out an energy efficiency audit and reduce its expenses by applying a series of recommendations. Even in the contest to choose the most brilliant novice chefs, one of the points that were taken into account was the ecological footprint of your proposals.

What is changing in kitchens? Andreu Genestra He is in charge of the restaurant of the Rural Hotel in Predi Son Jaumell (Mallorca) and winner of one of the first green stars of the prestigious Michelin. The chef believes that sustainability was part of haute cuisine long before the guide’s awards came. “It was the representatives of the new Basque cuisine who started with these issues. They simply did it when they decided to leave the French recipe book behind and began to work with Basque products and traditional local recipes. It is what Mugaritz did or The Bulli 20 years ago ”, he comments in statements to Planeta A.

Circular recipes

There are common ingredients in a sustainable restaurant recipe. Seasonal and local products, fish taken from the sea in an artisanal way and meats of autochthonous breeds, accompanied by a full use of water or renewable energy. For example, at Predi Son Jaumell they buy from small local producers and they only order fruits and vegetables in season. That is when they are not directly nourished by what they grow in their 15,000 m² of garden. They plant tomatoes, aromatic herbs, their own wheat for bread, olive trees for oil, and grapes for wine. And the products that they cannot find in Spain, such as chocolate, they ask from companies that work with certified organic or fair trade crops.

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One of the ‘sustainable’ dishes created by chef Andreu Genestra from Predi Son Jaumell.

The restaurant uses only renewable energy such as photovoltaic to meet your energy needs. In addition, they take advantage of all their waste: with the biomass from pruning fruit trees generate heat and with the organic remains they feed their chickens and compost for the garden. On the other hand, materials such as paper, cardboard or sugar cane and starch replace single-use plastic packaging that can be used both in the hotel and in the restaurant.

Being responsible, however, does not stop here, according to Genestra. For him, sustainability is, above all and in the first place, doing things thinking about the economic and local dimension of work. Produce your own food or treat yourself as local farmers bring you, say, benefits and savings. “To be sustainable it is essential form a local team and generate work in the area. How can a foreigner sometimes explain a recipe from Mallorca better than someone from here? Also thanks to the fact that we plant our own grapes, we now have a good wine at cost price”Says the cook.

Andreu Genestra’s team collecting the private garden of Predi Son Jaumell.

In order to Andreu Genestra, this way of seeing the business arises naturally when proposing a quality kitchen project. “Haute cuisine allows you to use techniques from all over the world, but also to be based on local products and to reinvent traditional recipes. Working with what surrounds us allows us differentiate ourselves from other chefs and starry restaurants. And this is basically what these great guides are looking for ”, he adds.

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