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Julia Colagreco: "We Must Rethink The Way We Consume."

14 October, 2020
Julia Colagreco Interview

While they kept themselves busy feeding doctors and nurses in the local hospital, and their local community with produce baskets, a new force had started to take root in the Colagreco's minds, as the voice of nature started to speak louder. "It made us reflect about a lot of things because usually we have a job where we’re in a rush."

As local fisherman spoke of dolphins and sharks returning to the bay, and of seeing birds they'd never seen before, the Colagreco's also began to notice changes in their environment. "We saw how nature had come back and evolved. Even in the garden we could see that."

When the French government decided restaurants could reopen, Colagreco and her husband just looked at each other, and knew this had to signal the start of something new. "We decided we wanted to bring nature and energy to our restaurant and menu," she explains. "Mauro wanted to show our guests how we work with nature, so he came up with this idea of the lunar calendar menu. In our garden we work without pesticides, with permaculture, and use the lunar calendar to pick and plant the vegetables."

"We’ve always worked with those products and local producers, but we thought maybe we needed to do something stronger to really try to get people to understand that we can and must change the way in which people consume."

She is adamant on this point, and her participation in the S.Pellegrino Food Meets Hope event convinced her that they were not alone in emerging from lockdown with a new perspective. Fellow panelist Dominque Crenn is now focusing on what she calls "smart luxury" or serving food from her own farm, and German chef Tim Raue has reinvented a local supply chain to create Asian-led dishes, instead of a relying on a weekly delivery arriving by plane.

"We took it like a moment of reflection," says Colagreco. "This happened in the whole world. The world stopped and we needed to find another way to consume and another way to buy."

"For us, the biggest problem is how we consume today, how the world consumes today. We said, let’s try to show that we can consume local, and we can consume fresh products, and we don’t need to buy industrialised things from supermarkets."

At Mirazur, the feedback they are getting from customers, who recall the lunar and biodynamic farming techniques of their grandparents, has given the couple great encouragement. "Our ancestors used to work like this and we completely lost it," she says.

Thinking about the future of the fine dining industry, Colagreco is optimistic. "Humans have always adapted, and we have this trend. I think we need to see and understand what’s going on in the world and we need to adapt and to change, and change things for better. I have hope that we are able to do that."

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