Hungry for CHANGE

The picture here above this article is Javier Ollero’s and Taka from Culler de Pau  and myself in Galicia Spain looking between the rocks smelling and tasting and observing what to eat. Ocean foreging. We do this all over the land around culler de pau and everything he uses is from his direct surroundings all as natural as can be. The elements are free and the nature is very alive and fresh in O’Grove were Javier has his restaurant. The Galician nature is still relatively pure and no chemicals are used to grow there vegetables.

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I find it hard to bring nature to a city restaurant and I hope that in the future more people will go to restaurants that set them selves up close to the elements in order to bring the freshest ,best and uncorrupted food to you.

I ate Macrobiotic most of my young adult live and then a very japanese vegetarian diet for many years to then completly loosing it recently after stressful work hours as a chef and living in London. Living in London is one of the hardest places for me personally, to eat healthy. I have to fight to focus on what is nutritious, harder then Skywalker having to concentrate on trying to lift that ship out of the mud with his supernatural powers in Yoda’s special training cave.

I dont mean to blame London however after being completely pure and from the countryside eating only things that I knew the name of the person who farmed my food  to arriving here in London were people were laughing at me when asking them “were do these carrots come from exactly?”.

I remember supermarkets at the time did not have the multi cultural offers as they do now. I remember walking along the food shelves looking at only white bread, tins, pasta, rice and quite normal unspecific vegetables with not that much flavour and when asking for brown bread all I saw was light brown toast.

Around that time there was also not many health food shops here in London compared to New York at the time and Germany  and if you did find a health food store they usually were quite small and did not really have much stock or fresh organic vegetables.

That was quite hard for me.

I used to grow my own potatoes, carrots, cucumbers, corn, tomatos, pumpkins , greens, herbs etc and they tasted amazing.

I also was a vegetarian, and now all this is quite out of hand and I am hungry for change because all the things I have eaten over the last 5 years has made me very ill.

As a chef, I only source the best and prepare with the highest commitment for my guests, however when it comes to myself and especially between projects, I seem to forget about me completly.

Here is a movie I recently saw and it is really reminding me of all the important things I need to look out for when I go shopping for my own home life.

The things they talk about in the film like Aspartame, Amaranth, Parabens, Food colouring Yellow S, Tartrazine and Benzoic Acid…and one of my pet hate MSG.

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I do know so many japanese restaurants that use this which is a shame because by doing so  we are training people to really not recognise or appreciate the natural feelings and flavours by using this MSG.

I have to say many japanese restaurants also use a lot of sugar in there cooking.

One of the reasons some japanese chefs use MSG here in the west is because the traditional kaiseki is too subtle and many customers have complained of “no flavour” or “not enough”. I strongly feel it is partly because they are not used to Kaiseki so are looking for the wrong thing when tasting, but this can be educated in my opinion without the need of MSG.

I may also say that people generally think they enhance the Umami factor by adding MSG.

It is really tough getting the kind of fish and the vegetables that are on the required standard for top japanese cuisine. In order to produce  the finest dishes certain chefs require pure products to work with. Most highest ranking chefs I have ever spoken to in Kyoto and other country’s all agree that the sourcing of there produce is one of the highest aspects that every chef turns such a devoted and special attention to.

I always concentrate on how things are grown and thats how it will taste ultimately, if you are a real natural alchemist in the kitchen, then you will find your own flavour without having to use any product that does not directly come from nature itself!!!!! This natural un-manipulated approach is obviously far more satisfying and bombastic then MSG.

By natural alchemist I mean that by matching and investigating what you get from nature and combining it the right way you create natural new textures and flavours etc without any need for any additional powders!

Why would I want to add a white powder to my extremely amazing produce I just went searching for all over Europe?

We are all perverted by food stuffs that are de-constructed, inverted, elaborate, chemically separated etc etc that then alienates us from the refinement of subtleness and real flavours. In real keiseki it is hard for some people to really appreciate this, especially in the younger generations all raised on processed things.

Chefs also are lending ideas from big food production company’s and using them there restaurants. SOme I agree some I really dont.

Further more the food industry is a product driven industry that has separated itself from nature and is not only misleading us consumers but also brainwashing us with untrue associations of health, wealth and beauty when in fact you will have serious health issues. These health issues caused by all these foods with terrible components leading to hart desease, obisety etc is costing the government billions in health care. I can not understand why the government is allowing so much sugar hidden nasty’s in our food creating so many sick people??????

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Food is not food anymore if we are not careful is being treated like a product more and more. Food is sold with a complete life package and dreams that are mostly misleading and untrue.

Coca cola is the most obvious one so please look at the film as it goes in to more detail then I can in this short blog of mine.

We have more food then ever before and many people are overweight or unhealthy. We eat all the time and everywhere but yet we are starved from nutrients. Many of us dont even know how to get the nutrients we need out of the food we choose to eat everyday.

This is a big subject specially in this day of consumer age were food is becoming more and more out of context and more and more a product.

The only point I am adding is from a chefs perspective that we often feel the need to be innovative and we try to do so by buying products to enhance or create some new or magic effect or fashionable texture etc that is created by adding powders of all kinds. Some are ok some are not, mostly I believe it is better to discovery from the nature as it is! You can always find anything you need from nature inorder to get your desired effects and there is no need to buy all these powders. Just because certain top restaurants are using it does not mean we all have to!

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Just for example Xanthan gum often used in modern gastronomy nowadays to thicken sauces, emulsifier etc. has the following concerns regarding health:

Evaluation of workers exposed to xanthan gum dust found evidence of a link to respiratory symptoms.

On May 20, 2011 the FDA issued a press release about SimplyThick, a food-thickening additive containing xanthan gum as the active ingredient, warning “parents, caregivers and health care providers not to feed SimplyThick, a thickening product, to premature infants.” The concern is that the product may cause necrotizing enterocolitis (i.e., NEC). As of July 10, 2012 the FDA has not established the causal link between SimplyThick and NEC.

Anything that MIGHT cause anything bad to a person, I as a chef dont want to use besides the fact Xantham gum is detectable on the palet and there are so many otherwise you can thicken something naturally!! Someone is definitely loving the fact that they can sell this stuff to chefs world wide in there glossy packaging.

Keep looking in and at nature, keep investigating, tasting, wondering, trying things out and questioning but try to stay natural and stay true to you!

Here is a film that I watched recently which I think reflects how food effects us living in a city full of product orientated foods and how that effects us as human beings in every way.


6 thoughts on “Hungry for CHANGE

  1. All you have wrote here is something I try to share as much as possible with friends and with everyone who try my breads, cakes, pizza etc.
    Unfortunately, for xanthane for example, I discovered by forwarding me in the world of gluten-free dough, that is the substance most widely used to replace the gluten.
    For a long time I discovered that MSG, widely used as a flavor enhancer, is now added to many processed foods.
    But also the excess usage of salt, as well as that sugar, is at the basis of the diffusion of many diseases.
    I think, that the first step to get into the world of healty food, is to learn as much as possible on the food of our places.
    Starting from the traditions, continuing a natural modernization of what hundreds of years ago was started. In order to make what is intended as food for sustenance, more hygienically safe and healthy anyway. Avoiding that the law of profit will contaminate the process, with chemicals which trick your palate.
    Have you’ve never heard of Slow Food ( and Terra Madre (

    Thanks a lot, for sharing such important discussion with us on your blog!!! 🙂

    1. Hi thank you for your response! I know for gluten free baking Xanthan is important still. I would not mind to research more about that. I will check the links you sent me.
      I been very ill after eating all the processed foods after eating a very healthy diet beforehand. Especially sugar is the one that is terrible for me. I am addicted and it is in everything almost.The power of organic vegetables is amazing. I am making a big vegetable and fruit juice every day and it is knocking all my cravings out also my body is slowly recuperating.I got to do much more things before I am well again. I do feel I have to campaign for food to stay as natural as possible, especially chefs now have so many gadget things to enhance but if you know how to source and you go out of your way to find products and your customers know thats what you are all about then hopefully you can practice a pure natural flavour restaurant.
      It is natural food that is a luxury now!! What a shame! Vegetables and certain foods are medicinal.We all need to become a bit more wise with what we eat and realise anything manufactured/ processed is just not healthy.
      Not telling people to give up things just be aware! Thank you again for your comment really appreciate it 🙂

      1. I hope you are well now!
        If you are addicted to food with a lot of sugar (I’m too), the only suggestion I can give you is to make more aerobic activity.
        Nordic Walking is one of the best aerobic activity I have tried.
        If you are interested to more information on Xanthan( production, recovery, and properties), I have a pdf file made by “Biotechnology Advances”. Just let me know how to let you have it.
        Take care of your health,
        Luca. 😉

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