Andrés Benítez has been recognised by some of the world’s most prestigious magazines, including Elle and Conde Nast Traveler, as one of the main defenders of healthy cuisine in Spain. His creative use of vegetables is the guiding force behind his recipes, and this creativity is bringing him to the attention of those who are increasingly interested in eating well.
Andrés became interested in nutrition and its benefits when a member of his family fell ill. This, along with birth of Alma, his daughter, who he constantly reminds of the importance of good food, led to a complete change in his career. He started to specialise in reconstructing the anatomy and structure of his dishes so that each one has a perfect combination of nutrients. This was how his famous “Combos” were born: combined dishes in their healthiest version, delivering alimentary benefits and a balanced proportion of principal nutrients.
Your recipes are odes to all that is vegetable. It would seem that you were an pioneer in this type of dining. Do you think you are one of main standards of this change?
Not at all, I think the pioneers are the educators, nutritionists and investigators who have logically presented their ideas and brought healthy eating to the attention of the rest of society in order to engineer change.
Do you think that the interest in healthy eating is a passing trend or that we are really seeing a change in consciousness?
As with all things, there is a trendy side, but I think we are seeing a change in consciousness, a necessary change for ourselves and the world in general. The way we consume food at the moment is not sustainable. and this is demonstrated through the myriad of diseases that are prevalent in the present day.
Is there anything that you don’t like to eat?
I can’t stand beans! I eat everything else, especially if it is well cooked.
What food do you prepare for Alma? We know that one of her favourite snacks is a sandwich made of homemade bread and filled with a delicious chocolate cream prepared with extra-virgin olive oil..
Jajaja. That’s true. It’s her favorite snack. I try to feed her in the simplest way possible, I use as little processed food as I can. She is used to eating fruit and vegetables from a very young age and we give her high quality, wholemeal food. However, even though I try, I cannot 100% control what she eats, and she loves treats like any other kid.
Perhaps there is a need for more collective consciousness for a real change in eating habits.
Do you run out of ideas and inspiration?
We sometimes burn ourselves out, but we always find a source of inspiration. You have to really, truly believe in what you are doing and the direction you want to take.
Do you think that people enjoy their food now that they are more conscious about what they eat?
People are still a bit ‘wild’ when it comes eating, but I think that there is a time for everything. From the simple pleasure of enjoying food, to a treat, or day to day nourishment, keeping ourselves healthy and finding food that gives you energy and makes you feel alive.
Your favourite ingredient?
The dish you are most proud of?
Ufff… come and ask me in 10 years time, hahahaha. Seriously though, I am proud of discovering and fighting for an idea. We have only just begun with all of this.
Well… I don’t particularly believe in them, food in general forms a part of a good diet, everything has its importance but there are a lot of trendy food as well.