We have been lucky enough to attend Despesques, the World Sustainable Gastronomy Forum, in which the chefs have committed to avoiding single-use plastic

It was proposed to stir consciences and that is what it has done. We have spent 48 hours with Ángel León and, of course, he has made us think. How many single-use plastics do we get into our hands? How many could we avoid?

Yes, the Aponiente chef has brought together nearly 80 chefs at the fourth World Sustainable Gastronomy Forum, held in El Puerto de Santa María, to invite them to reflect on how they are able to contribute to the conservation of nature from their kitchens. No, there is no meeting that resembles Despesques, hence everyone came to his call with an empty suitcase to return with it full of mixed feelings and duties cooked up in an atmosphere of brotherhood to be resolved upon their return.

He summoned Manuel Maqueda with the aim of explaining to us the brutal pollution that the planet suffers due to single-use plastics, because they are everywhere: «It is not that you have to do new things in the restaurant, but in a different way, because the economy Circular means creating value without generating waste. Design to eliminate toxicity, pollution and waste,” says the circular economist and Harvard professor, who insisted that “plastic is a material that the earth cannot digest. It does not fall apart, it fragments and microplastics are a poison, which crosses the craniocerebral barrier. One hundred percent of placentas eat micro and nano plastics. “We are not aware of what we eat.” Having said these words, those of us attending his presentation at the Monasterio de la Victoria were not even able to blink. The specialist became serious and asked to list which plastics occupy their kitchens, because “having them in contact with food and drink is a very bad idea, since heat and fat enhance their effect.”

Likewise, the statement that “recycling is a smokescreen” gave us pause. What's more, it multiplies its growth. He said it knowing that the problem lies in the fact that there are too many foods that occupy the shelves of supermarkets, which are presented wrapped in plastic. “Are you aware that you just screwed us?” was heard in the background.


That his colleagues would be left speechless and with a knot in their stomach was the intention of the holder of the green Michelin star and the Repsol Sustainable Sun, who met Maqueda thanks to Juan Martín, a renowned biologist and R&D coordinator at Aponiente. as the most sustainable in the world by The World's 50 Best Restaurant's.

During our conversation, he also brought up the harmful effect that non-stick Teflon pans have on health. And he confirmed to us that years ago he dispensed with vacuum cooking machines: “Several cooks have already assured that they are going to replace the roner with the pressure cooker to stew,” he points out, while assuring us that “I protect the preparations with a piece of paper.” special that absorbs water. At first, the idea was not liked, because the products dry out, there is a loss of durability, it takes longer to cook and more pots are used. But he thinks that heat and plastic are not friends and, in the end, you are putting microplastics in your cheek.

Even Aponiente does not accept polystyrene boxes, which the fishmonger takes back after unloading the product: “I want to educate my team,” he reveals.

Maqueda, who advocates for real change, gave us all a lesson, as she took out her metal cup, while the rest of us drank from plastic ones, but they were not single-use. Upon leaving the room, Pedro Subijana (Akelarre) promised that these words were so necessary, that he was going to act immediately.

At your side, Pepe Solla He confessed that he has already reduced the polystyrene boxes as well and that he did not use film either and instead, he has “tuppers” with their lids, which he reuses, although now he is going to replace them with metal ones.

For its part, Begoña Rodrigo He makes it clear how many times he turns against the administration. Above all, because Health does not allow them to work with wooden boards: “We even bought some wooden boxes so that they could bring us the vegetables, but it is not possible either,” explains the cook, who in La Salita has only one freezer. small for ice cream with the aim of avoiding large productions, which end up being stored in bags, a measure that helped him “reduce them by 60 percent,” he said.

There's even more, because the water comes in jugs, he uses stainless steel storage containers and no disposable cutlery during the tests.

Finally, at the house of Sacha Hormaechea There is only room for glass bottles, he says “no” to polystyrene and has signed up to use other technologies instead of vacuum cooking: “We have a lot left to do, because we lack alternatives to improve. In fact, I miss a protective film made of another material.