Sustainable food – interview with chef, Ildefonso “Fofo” Burgos

What made you decide to become a chef?

Sustainable food is a growing trend. The way we produce our food is having a profound effect on the health of our soil and the food we grow.

Ildefonso Burgos, known as “Fofo”, is one of the leading chefs in the use of sustainable food practices and incorporates environmental care and two-way thinking into everything he cooks and serves.

My passion for cooking comes from my family roots. My mother worked in a restaurant and I remember perfectly the days when I worked alongside her, but most of all I remember the importance my mother gave to quality products.

She always took me to the markets where she spent a lot of time selecting each food very well, she was very demanding!

Can you tell us a little about your work as a chef?

I currently work for Gonzalo Assiego in his international group LYD trying to give more importance to organic products and working in research and development in his fields of cultivation, processing and production of products.

As a chef, food comes to your restaurant every day.  You have to communicate with the land and the sea and experience for yourself where the food you serve comes from.

You have to go to the farms where the food you serve is produced, always keeping in mind that the food you offer your customers will affect their body and mind as well as their taste buds.

Being a chef doesn’t start and end with just creating a dish. It is the ongoing relationship between the chef, the producers, the restaurant team, the customers and the planet that really defines your work as a chef.

Why do you think it's important to use organic ingredients?

One of the things I’ve learned to value most is a product that has been grown using methods that are sustainable for both health and the environment.

By visiting my producers, I can clearly see the difference between a field of vegetables or tomatoes that are grown according to organic or non-organic principles. I can see the bugs and slugs – the biodiversity.   If I am not supporting biodiversity, I am not doing the right thing for my customers.  As a chef I realized that I had some influence through the food I cooked in my restaurants so that I could support sustainable development that benefits us all.

As you have told us, your restaurants connect people with nature. Can you tell us about this and why you chose to use our Vivaorganique products?

The use of chemicals in agriculture has a big impact, in relation to soil health and water retention, for example.  Of course it is very important that, as a chef, our food preparation areas are hygienic, but it would be crazy if we sprayed our own kitchens with toxic chemicals.  I came across Vivaorganique products at an organic consumer fair last year and learned about their history. I later researched their products thoroughly and was impressed by the care they take in their production and their sustainable ethics.  Right now we are using a wide range of Vivaorganique products in all our kitchens ranging from all kinds of vegetables to the best honeys

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