October 14, 2022

Choosing the world we want to live in

The internationally-renowned starred chef Mauro Colagreco, patron of SIAL Paris 2022, tells us more about his concept of circular gastronomy and his vision of tomorrow’s food

Mauro Colagreco is the revered owner and head of the three-Michelin star Mirazur restaurant in Menton, France. He is also the patron of SIAL Paris 2022, championing the “Own the Change” campaign.

Let’s start with what circular gastronomy is all about, and why it is so important for the food and beverage industry?
Well, circular gastronomy is gastronomy that has a positive impact on the planet. It’s gastronomy with a holistic vision, integrating production, consumption and education as well.

Circular gastronomy is the way forward for tomorrow’s food industry and there is no other way. We have to adapt ourselves, it’s unthinkable to continue to bring products from all over the world to our plates, and it’s essential because the food industry is a pillar of our civilisation. We have to start seriously thinking about how we feed the population, not in the future, but right now. It’s the only way to guarantee a sustainable way of living for people on earth. That is what circular gastronomy is for me.

Circular gastronomy is the way forward for tomorrow’s food industry and there is no other way.

Who, therefore, are the main people or companies involved? What role are they going to play in order to reshape our relationship with food?
Everybody is the main actor: restaurants, chefs, industry producers, farmers, everyone. The world has already changed and it’s now up to us to catch up.

I always say that each time we eat, we choose the world we want to live in. For me that is so important, and I really believe everybody is the main actor in this story.

The world has already changed and it’s now up to us to catch up.

Sounds like there’s quite a bit of education that needs to be done, whether it’s for producers or consumers. Yes, of course, education is the most important, to provide people with an example and show them the way to do things. It’s a very important component!

Are governments supporting what you are doing, or are you doing this on your own as an industry?
Not really. It has been more than eight years since we started to develop our garden. Everything starts in the soil in fact, so one of the biggest challenges is to preserve it, and we understood that almost immediately, right from the beginning when we opened Mirazur.

Today, we have five hectares which are 100% permaculture, and where we produce around 80% of vegetables we consume in our restaurant.

But in fact, our main goal is to have a better understanding of the nature and of its cycles, to preserve it and conserve the biodiversity. In this sense, we have created a circular gastronomy, coming up with many possible ways of producing vinegars, kombuchas, pickles, conserves, compost, reintegrating in our soil, in our garden.

So it’s our own actions. We don’t wait for help from governments, we believe in that. Three years ago, for example, we received plastic free certification. It has been three years of working internally, with the team, and externally with our suppliers, as well and the producers all around the area.

Let’s move to SIAL Paris 2022. What role does the event play in this transition towards circular gastronomy?
It gives us a large visibility for the food industry and globally. Here you have many industry players, distributors, chefs, restaurants, producers, consumers, everybody’s here.
It’s a place where the idea [of circular gastronomy] can be addressed and can find a path, so it’s a real opportunity.

What would you like to see at this year’s event?
I would like to see more sustainable actions, and a willingness for commitment, a will to transform the food industry and gastronomy into a more respectful one.

Finally you are the patron of this year’s SIAL. What does that role entail?
As the patron of this edition, I would like to follow discussions with all those attending the event on how to feed the earth, planet, population, today and tomorrow. To make people more aware about the necessity to change, and to change our way of life, way of consumption, in order to offer a sustainable future for the next generation.

How Mauro Colagreco’s restaurant, Mirazur, reflects the goal of circular gastronomy

Beyond being a starred restaurant, Mirazur is also a platform for Mauro Colagreco to achieve his ambitions of circular gastronomy.

“Yes. Mirazur is in a little town named Menton, which is a medium-sized village, but we have a lot of nature all around us: the ocean, the mountains and we are in the middle of the city, middle of la campagnia, the countryside, and that helps a lot towards achieving this goal,” the chef and owner says.

Mirazur was the first restaurant in the world to be certified zero plastic, and Colagreco is now hoping to inspire others at SIAL Paris 2022.

“I want to see projects that redefine the way we consume rather than create new needs in society. That is really important, rethinking the entire chain of the food industry,” he said. “Right now, innovations should not be synonymous with excessive consumption, but instead seek to address the biggest challenges for humanity.”