Spain - Message from the Bailli Délégué
Madrid, April 14, 2020
What will happen after COVID-19?
" Rafael Anson .. has shared his reflections with us "

Dear friends

Who would have told us that at Easter 2020 we were going to be confined at home! Without a doubt, we will not be able to easily forget these days.

Via an article published on the excelenciasgourmet.com (c) website, Rafael Ansón, President of the Royal Academy of Spanish Gastronomy and of the Ibero-American Academy of Gastronomy, has shared his reflections with us on how the world gastronomic panorama will change, especially regarding its relationship with tourism, after the coronavirus crisis.

He began by affirming that whilst this crisis is of immense gravity for the catering sector it is not for gastronomy in general. Food and beverage production is maintained and the food business continues.

Expanding on this statement, although it seems obvious it is of enormous importance: he says we are not consuming gastronomy because we cannot, not because we do not want to; and therefore when the crisis ends we will consume it again with renewed spirits.

Focusing on this concept, when the crisis ends we must rethink the world and its post-COVID horizons. How can we recover the social and economic importance that all the activities associated with gastronomy have had in recent years?

For Rafael Ansón the answer is very simple: we don't know yet. In the 2008 crisis, Spanish restaurateurs and businessmen reinvented themselves, bringing haute cuisine to their new audiences through “gastrobars” and opening the market more and more to their products and proposals. Thus, with ingenuity and patience, they managed not only to save their businesses but also to turn the Spanish restaurant offer into one of the best in the world.

He continued, “The reality is that this 2020 demand will change, and we must adjust supply to demand. There are two requirements that I believe the inventors of post-crisis gastronomy must take into account.

First: customers are going to weigh up more deeply which establishments they choose to go to consume and why. Rather than looking for awards, consumers are going to focus on “4S” gastronomy: sustainable, supportive, soundness (healthy) and satisfying. A restaurant will be chosen not only for the satisfaction it generates in the gastronomic field (flavour, sensorial satisfaction, technical enjoyment) but also for its values. The client will seek that the restaurateur promotes healthy eating, works with quality products and producers; in solidarity and contributes to the well-being of people; sustainable and respectful of the environment.

Second: there will be a desire to blur the barrier between professional and home cooking even more. This will present catering professionals with a huge challenge: they must maintain the distinction of their premises and kitchens, they must work with the best product (and also the most sustainable when possible!) but communicate to their customers more closeness and normality than ever.”

One of the ways in which Rafael Ansón ventures that this can be managed is the wide acceptance of the take-away, common in places like California but not yet deeply rooted in Ibero-American countries. With this system, customers access quality gastronomy without the risk factor (and added cost) of the restaurant experience.

To conclude, he said, “We all have to contribute to recovering normality, the pre-COVID status quo, in gastronomy; both in haute cuisine and on a day-to-day basis. Our common goal should be that in each country, citizens have the potential to eat better, applying the 4S philosophy, but also with the attractiveness and security that until recently made us elect to travel to enjoy the world's gastronomies.”

Profound words from our fellow member, a renowned expert in the field of gastronomy. I sincerely believe that we will return to the restaurants, return to the aperitifs with friends and continue to embrace the world of wine. It is in our nature, we will toast again!

I send much encouragement to you all. Continue to pay attention to the health authorities. Stay at home to preserve our health and that of our families. We will overcome this onslaught against our very being by being united!

With best wishes
Vive la Chaîne

Rosa Román
Bailli Délégué