Azurmendi, Eneko Atxa’s sustainable kitchen that boasts three Michelin stars lifestyle
Located in Larrabetxu in Vizcaya, Eneko Atxa’s restaurant banks on the Jaki philosophy (n) where gastronomy and knowledge come together in the same dish to improve society and the natural surroundings.
The protection of the Basque roots and the natural environment, together with the preservation of local products have resulted in him winning the award for having the most sustainable restaurant for the second time on The World’s best 50 list.
Eneko Atxa (Amorebieta, Vizcaya, September 14, 1977) did not hesitate for a second in relation to his chosen career path, and when he was just 15, he started in the kitchen. He learned about new culinary techniques and flavours from Basque cuisine at the Hotel School of Leioa (Vizcaya), where he began to refine his taste and sense for smell through local products and traditional recipes.
His early opportunities took him to the following kitchens: Baserri Maitea, the Asador Zaldua, Andoni Luis Aduriz’s Mugaritz restaurant and Martin Berasategui’s restaurant. Experiences that expanded his culinary background, his technique and knowledge about local products. Three of the foundations that support Azurmendi, the most sustainable restaurant in the world according to The World’s 50 Best Restaurants.
Under the slogan “cooking for a better future”, Atxa has banked on: local products, the protection of the environment and a health and social commitment from the very beginning. The principles which make up the Jaki (n) project, a word game combining food (jaki in Basque) and knowledge (jakin).
Jaki (n), the philosophy created in the kitchen
A philosophy that has led him to receiving three Michelin stars and with which he has been able to continue discovering new flavours and textures. In his kitchens, there is no lack of concentrated meat or fish stock or fines aroma in the vacuums and the centrifugations.
Located in Larrabetzu (Vizcaya) and surrounded by the Txorierri valley, Azurmendi offers sustainable haute cuisine in a bioclimatic and removable building.
Its covering serves as a deposit, since it collects rainwater and uses it to irrigate the orchards. It is in this area where: solar panels, aromatic plants and a greenhouse which is home to some 400 local seed varieties like the autochthonous seeds from the Basque Country and a germplasm bank are located. A joint project that Azurmendi has carried out with the Basque Institute for Research and Technological Development (Neiker).
We believe in a world where our responsibility is to work, in a way, as guardians of the nature that surrounds us, and to protect it so that it remains. Our work is to use our knowledge for social welfare, adapting to people’s needs”, says Eneko Atxa on his website.
From recycling to the circular economy
Built in 2010 with recycled materials such as slag, plastic, glass or aluminum; the restaurant has increased its level of sustainability from 84% to 93% in four years. A result that has been influenced by the reduction of C02 emissions, due to 800 trees and 100 hectares of forest that Atxa bought. “We work on concepts like sustainable architecture, trying to coexist rather than invade, using clear concepts in our gastronomic space, such as the capture of energy from photovoltaic panels, geothermal energy, rainwater recycling or the electric charge supply for vehicles “, the chef claims.
The initiative promoted by the City Council of Larrabetzu for the recycling and use of waste has allowed them to create a system of circular economy, since the generated compost is used by the farmers in the area to fertilize their land. In this way, a link is established between the local producers and the things they grow. Azurmendi’s DNA:
We have a commitment to the welfare of the people who are with us. That is why we promote strategic plans which look towards gastronomy ceasing to be at odds with two important concepts: family conciliation and social reconciliation; trying to make each person find their space in their lives, Atxa concludes.
Barrio Legina s/n
The World’s 50 Best Restaurants award winner
The ‘World’s Most Sustainable Restaurant’ award from The World’s 50 Best Restaurants is given to the restaurant with the highest score in environmental and social responsibility, according to the rating from the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA).