“May food be the motive that brings together every sector involved in the future of planet Earth.” This new challenge has been posed by Ángel León for Despesques, an event which was initially meant to be held every two years, but which will be remounted just one year after its launch. It will take place on September 16th in Barbate (Cádiz, Spain) at the estuary fisheries. “We can’t wait any longer, there’s no time to lose,” explained the Andalusian chef at a press conference held this morning in his restaurant Aponiente, which boasts three Michelin stars, and is located in El Puerto de Santa María.
This time around, the chef has called on representatives of the world’s leading environmental NGOs as well as leading players from the food industry and the distribution sector. As a result, more than 80 chefs will come together, many with Michelin stars of their own, to discuss both problems and solutions. Ángel León is clearly excited by the response he has received, and he will reach an international audience for the event thanks to the participation this year of chefs from such countries as India, Peru, Slovenia, the USA, Portugal and Colombia, among others.
The commitment is loud and clear. “We have an obligation to consider the future of the sea and the role we must play in society given the platform we have in the culinary world. And we must act now,” insisted the chef. He went on to say, “I could see no other way than to sit down once again and tap into the terrific willingness shown by my colleagues at last year’s event.”
“I am incredibly grateful. I asked them to come with me to the marsh as an example of the ancient resources and a sustainable future in order to get our message out. Last year we didn’t have enough time to continue the conversation about what has to be done, so I’ve gotten my friends involved once again, and my team, so we can keep striving for a better future,” said Ángel León as he wrapped things up. The chef defends the restoration of the marshes for sustainable aquaculture, which is being carried out by Lubimar Fisheries, “a company that breeds singular fish, creates jobs and respects the environment.”
The roadmap for Despesques 2019 includes such important themes as the conservation of oceans and seas; training and education in the fields of food and the environment; research development to search for new kinds of food; discovering new foods based in the food chain; the defense of good environmental practices in agriculture, livestock farming and fishing; promoting a circular economy; achieving food sovereignty; and promoting the consumption of local products and native varieties.
This year, the significance of the earth’s abundance is highlighted by a market featuring 15 food sector businesses from Cádiz.
“This is a unique opportunity to adopt new measures when it comes to contributing to the sustainability of the planet, making the most of our platform as chefs. With the support of the industry and scientific knowledge, the goal is to wrap up the event with ten specific points that we can ask the world to commit to.” These are the words of Juan Martín, environmental coordinator at Aponiente, who accompanied Ángel León during the presentation, adding, “This is a very ambitious event, which aims to reach the food industry, the government, the European Union and the FAO. We are looking for firm commitments that can help to turn this ship around, setting a hopeful course with new procedures, habits, norms and laws.”
To make Despesques 2019 possible, Ángel León and his team are supported by the Department of the Presidency, Public Administration and the Interior through the Extenda Andalusian Agency for Foreign Promotion, and within the framework of Integrated Local Investment (ITI) for the Province of Cádiz, the Department of Tourism, Regeneration, Justice and Local Administration for the Provincial Council of Andalusia, the Provincial Council of Cádiz, Estrella Galicia, Petaca Chico, Makro, Kampaoh and Lubimar. Collaborators include Solera Motor, Cookplay, Pilsa, Hotel Duques de Medinaceli, K-Digital, Grupo Caballero and Bodegas Lustau.