Changing Courses: Q&A with Chef Manu Buffara, A Chef’s View On Sustainability

manu buffara

Awarded as Latin America’s Best Female Chef of 2022 and the owner of two renowned restaurants, Chef Manu is also a mother of two, founder of a non-profit that nourishes communities, beekeeper, and more. She is a prime example of the power of a chef who creates far beyond the kitchen.

Chef Manu’s cooking ethos revolves around prioritizing sustainable ingredients, reducing water and energy consumption, and choosing actions that will have a positive impact on the environment.

We sat down with Chef Manu to learn about her personal sustainability journey, planet-positive practices, her experience working with Perfect Day’s cream cheese and milk, and more…

How has your view on sustainability evolved over time?

Understanding that the preservation and maintenance of the environment are my main goals to ensure that the needs of future generations are not harmed by the indiscriminate use of natural resources today.

I began to realize that this was also our job because it was not enough just to cook, it had to go beyond the kitchen.

Why is it important for Chefs to prioritize sustainability and positive practices for the planet in the kitchen?

Biodiversity conservation and protection of endangered species; Valuing and encouraging local agriculture and livestock; Reduction in the emission of polluting gases and the production of waste; Stimulating the production and consumption of healthier foods.

How can restaurants become more sustainable?

The term sustainable comes from sustainability, which are activities done to meet needs without compromising future actions.

– Conscious supply

– Actions with impact on the environment

– Local producers

– Choice of ingredients

– Physical space

– Reuse- reduce and recycle

– Purchase planning

– Organize production

– Menu organization

– Water consumption

– Energy consumption

Who are some sustainable Chefs that inspire you?

Douglas McMaster and Rene Redzepi

What is it like to work with Perfect Day milk?

The idea is very innovative. At this moment, as we are living with our planet, it is begging us for help. Creating animal-free products is a great way out and a new way of eating.

How did you decide to make your dish?

I chose to use a fresh fish, with cream cheese that seemed super creamy, and I would just add the lemon zest for acidity, and the combination was very refreshing.

What motivates you every day?

Believing that as chefs and references we can change the way we eat and how we eat today, so that our planet is healthy in the future.

What one piece of advice would you give an aspiring Chef?

Believe in yourself, don’t give up on your dreams. Professional fulfillment in gastronomy will not come overnight, it takes a lot of dedication, talent and good teachers. The chef’s profession has something of a priesthood, due to the need to learn, because it has to conquer positions of hierarchy. Your career will be shaped by the knowledge and experience gained along your journey.

Who or what do you look to for inspiration when developing a new recipe?

My inspirations come from my story, from the people who are or pass through my life, nature, animals, the sea and my travels.

And finally, what is your vision for a kinder, greener future?

I believe that we should all be concerned about the future of the planet, it depends on us. We must work to make this change… always united in favor of our planet.

We’d love to hear your thoughts!

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