Ángel León, who has made sustainable fishing his central issue as a chef, shines a light once again on the marshes and on sustainable aquaculture for the breeding of singular fish, the creation of local jobs and respect for the environment. The Chef of the Sea has framed his commitment to the future using a technique that goes back 200 years on the salt flats. In doing so, for the second year running, he has made Cádiz the host city for an international forum to discuss issues of sustainability.

“We know we’re not going to change the world. What we were aiming for with this initiative was deliberation, a sharing of ideas and sound proposals that can actually be turned into real intentions.” This is how the press conference began for Ángel León’s Despesques 2019, held this Monday at the Estuaries of Lubimar Fisheries in Barbate. Following a welcome statement given by host Javier Hernández, the conclusions reached by the chefs and experts who had gathered earlier were made public.

Eight months of work, eight pledges reproduced on a canvas in a live performance by artist Andi Rivas, a native of Cádiz, and eight people to unveil the manual of intentions and good practices established during this second edition of Despesques. Here, the only 4-star Michelin restaurant in Andalusia has turned the sustainable revolution up a notch, bringing together more than 80 chefs from ten different countries, with world-renowned experts from the environmental and food industry fields.

With impeccable staging symbolizing the union of the three different sectors involved in the process, those charged with revealing the broad strokes were, together with Ángel León, chefs Joan Roca, Quique Dacosta, Micha, Andoni and Ana Ros. Also on hand were Juan Martín and José María Cervera, coordinators of participants from the environmental and food industry sectors, respectively.

“Last year it was clear that everyone had good intentions. But it was also apparent that we need experts who can tell us how to carry them out.” For this very reason, this year the Andalusian chef has brought together not only his colleagues, among them some of the most famous chefs in the world, but also representatives from such environmental NGOs as WWF, BirdLife International, SEO BirdLife, IUCN, Greenpeace, FarmAfrica and Ecologistas en Acción. In addition, there were representatives from the food industry including Ecoembes, Makro, ANGED, the Asociación de Cadenas Españolas de Supermercados, Coviran, Grupo Siro, the Comité de Sostenibilidad de AECOC and the Instituto Internacional San Telmo.


In attendance at the event was Ana Mestre, delegate from the Government of Cádiz; Miguel Rodríguez Rodríguez, local delegate for the Department of Tourism, Regeneration, Justice and Local Administration; Daniel Sánchez Román, local delegate for Agriculture, Livestock, Fishing and Sustainable Development; Jose María Román Guerrero, Vice-President of the Provincial Council of Cádiz and Mayor of Chiclana, along with Miguel Molina, Mayor of Barbate. It was also a day for supporting the production and consumption of local products. To this end, a group of food sector businesses based in Cádiz also attended. They make up part of the Farmers Market, which is supported by the Extenda Andalusian Agency for Foreign Promotion. Specifically speaking, these companies included Atun Rojo del Estrecho (Tarifa); Bodegas Fernando de Castilla (Jerez); Quesería El Gazul (Alcala de los Gazules); Cervezas La Pepa (Jerez); Lacteos Agrazul (Alcalá de los Gazules); Cantizano Salsas (Paterna de la Rivera); Distintivos de Calidad (Medina Sidonia); Compañía de Vinos del Atlántico/Bodegas Poniente (Jerez); Productos El Majuelo (Jerez); Emilio Hidalgo (Jerez); Petaca Chico, S.L (Conil de la Frontera); Bodegas Yuste-Argueso (Sanlúcar de Barrameda); Huerta de Albala (Arcos de la Frontera); Soul K (El Puerto de Santa María) and Quesos El Padrense (Prado del Rey). All had their products on display, and offered free tastings to everyone in attendance.

Bringing her art to the event, as well as her commitment to the land of her roots, dancer Sara Baras also participated. A good friend of the captain and his crew, her generosity and beauty was amplified with the participation of her dance company in a masterful performance enjoyed by all those present. Afterward, all eyes were on the Estuaries of Lubimar, where the chefs waded in to fish with their very hands in a singular moment lit up by a hundred Michelin stars. The meal was rounded out with other traditional products, many of which were from the estuaries, including mullets, prawns and algae, raised to culinary heights by the Chef of the Sea. This time around, he collaborated with Canela & Clavo, a caterer out of Jeréz, to pay homage to the products and wines of his native land.

Despesques 2019 has come to a close, but there’s homework to be done. The conclusions reached will be submitted to the food industry, the government, the European Union and the FAO. The idea is to obtain commitments “to turn this ship around, setting a hopeful course with new procedures, habits, norms and laws.” ”. CONCLUSIONS ARE LISTED AT THE END OF THE PRESS RELEASE

To make Despesque 2019 possible, Ángel León and his team were 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. The combined efforts of all of these entities and individuals ensured that Despesques 2019 was a unique, integral experience on the marshes and salt flats.


“We are working toward Sustainable and Responsible Cuisine with an eye on becoming an instrument of change, which will bring added value to our area.”

  1. As chefs, we agree to establish Despesques as a platform for information, training and raising awareness in the restaurant sector and in society as a whole.
  2. As chefs, we are committed to the creation of a working team that will continue to engage in the traditional fishing practice known as despesque, seeking out the necessary economic resources to ensure its survival.
  3. We commit to reducing the use of single-use plastic, calling on the industry to opt for re-useable plastics, and establishing A Day Without Plastic in our restaurants.
  4. We stand for sustainable aquaculture, demanding best practices and specific labels for consumers that provide information on how animals are fed and bred.
  5. We are committed to creating a Manual of Best Environmental Practices for restaurants, which will make the most of each product and will promote a circular economy, resulting in a sustainability test.
  6. We will create a model for the reuse, recycling and separation of the waste generated by our restaurants, which aims to reduce the unnecessary consumption of water, energy and other consumables, helping us to avoid food waste.
  7. As chefs, we promise to be honest when it comes to both products and clients, defending the seasonal nature of the food on our menus.
  8. We commit to being social responsible, making public our activities in the area of sustainability, and leading by example.

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