The link between cookery and the land was the focus once more at FéminAs, during the talk by Galician chef Lucía Freitas, a vegetable enthusiast.
Covid-19 has had a huge effect on everyone's lives, and in many cases has led us to rethink our life models. A circumstance that has also arisen in the world of gastronomy. This was mentioned today, for example, by Lucía Freitas in her talk on the last day of FéminAs, the first International Congress of Gastronomy, Women and the Rural Milieu: “I went back to the house with my plantation, and this led me to rethink my recipes right down to the seeds”.
Although Freitas' cookery lost that fear of vegetables years ago, they have now become more circular with the need for involvement in the entire process. "Being a producer and a chef allows me to collect and cook during the day. It's essential for my vegetables to reach the table alive”. This is how Lucía upholds the need to "focus on vegetables, and show that carrots or aubergines are a recipe in themselves". No sooner said than done. The Galician chef presented three recipes, in fact, based on three vegetables, "my fetishes": onions, mushrooms and carrots. They were all cooked to make them stand out because Freitas' recipes seek "simplicity well thought out, with certain nuances".
“People aren't used to eating vegetables in the proper textures, and they freak out when they do”. Vegetables also take pride of place in Lucía Freitas' cooking as a way of educating diners "for whom eating any vegetable at all doesn't count". This combines her production activities with gastronomy, because she speaks out for environment-friendly products "which might be the ugliest, but still the best".
"It's time to introduce a work/life balance. We've reached a turning point".
The pandemic also brought about another change in Lucía Freitas' life. “It enabled me to experiment as a 100% mother". Something she does not want to give up, and does not want her crew to give up either. This is why Freitas' restaurants are now undergoing a restructuring process to address the work/life balance.
“If we want a future for our catering industry, we have to change the game rules". A responsibility which Freitas places at the door of leading chefs and entrepreneurs to "re-educate customers". The chef feels that this is an urgent task, and that "the time has come, we've reached a turning point”. And it is the same for everyone, says Freitas: “it's not just a woman thing - they want to be mothers, but now men also want to be fathers".