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Latin American chefs ask for responsible cuisine with less meat

The planet needs to consume less meat, for which it is essential to have a responsible kitchen and find new sources of protein that do not destroy the environment, the chefs attending the election of the 50 Best Restaurants of Latin America 2018 coincided today in Bogota.

“There is a consensus that we must reduce our meat intake and find other ways to ensure that the one we consume is sustainable and of the highest quality,” said the deputy editor of “Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants,” Laura Price, in the panel “The future of proteins”.

Before the awards ceremony, which will take place tomorrow, the chefs presented their views on this topic, especially for a region like Latin America “that houses some of the countries with the highest consumption of meat in the world” but in which increasingly “there is more awareness about its effects on human health and on the planet,” said Price.

One of the most fierce defenders of the need to increase vegetables and reduce meat in the menu is, paradoxically, the Argentine Narda Lepes.

Although Argentina reached the record in 2017 of the consumption of 118 kilos per year of meat per inhabitant, Lepes insisted on “going back to basics by using a greater amount of plants and fruits.”

Lepes, known for its restaurant “Narda Comedor”, which shows that its country is much more than meat, despite being the second largest consumer in the world after the United States, insisted that it is the function of the chefs “show the vegetables in attractive forms and in proportions that are good to eat them “.

In the same sense, Pablo Rivero, of “Don Julio”, said that despite being a grandson and son of Argentine butchers and cattle producers, he pointed out the urgency of “having a responsible kitchen”.

For this, he stressed, “we must ask ourselves what meat we should eat because man, in general, closes his eyes to the death of animals but now it is necessary to open them to know what they are feeding and be more aware of.”

However, the link with the field and Rivero cattle remains intact because in his country the tradition of meat “is huge”, so that its restaurant excels in Buenos Aires for the selection of Aberdeen Angus steers and Hereford, fed natural pastures.

“Now we bet on sustainability because we understood that the sacrifice of the animal does not always bring benefits to the planet,” he said.

The Mexican Édgar Núñez, chef and co-owner of Sud 777, advocated entomophagy, that is, the intake of insects that for centuries was part of the culinary art of some nations.

“Since the beginning of time we have consumed alternative protein in Mexico, such as ants and grasshoppers, which have stopped producing because of their high cost but which are of excellent nutritional value, so governments should promote them,” he said.

For its part, the Colombian Leonor Espinosa, Leo, asked “stop demonizing those who raise a cow or decide to eat it” because what “you have to think is that livestock models are obsolete and you need to find one that mitigate the impact of climate change “.

In addition, “in countries with problems to feed its inhabitants, it is urgent to give space to other meats, such as the goat, chilli or chigüiro for the benefit of people with low economic resources.”

For the second consecutive year, Colombia is the host country for the largest celebration of regional culinary talent with the election of the 50 Best Restaurants in Latin America.

The event, which will take place at the Ágora event center in Bogotá, will gather chefs, restaurateurs, sommeliers, journalists and gastronomes from around the world tomorrow.

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