Chicote: «Now it seems that restaurants are the mouth of the wolf»

Alberto Chicote (Madrid, 51 years old) will put on the investigator’s suit again tomorrow, starting at 10:30 p.m., in the third season of ‘Are you going to eat it?’ The cook and television presenter is once again in charge of the La Sexta program to respond to the complaints of citizens and discover negligence, lack of sanitary inspections, illegal products, failures in the food control chain, and innumerable deceptions to the consumer.

-He said in the second season that he received many letters and messages on Instagram in relation to the program. Has it continued to happen?

-It is true that we have considered this third season from different complaints that have been coming to us, from people who say: ‘Hey, look, this happens in my sector’. In ‘Are you going to eat it?’ We always start from the base of a problem or a complaint that someone carries out. For example, tomorrow we will start with two programs: one on bread (‘The bread scam’) and another on organic products (‘The organic food fraud’). In both cases we start from people who are making a product that complies with the regulations and who complain that there are those who are not complying with it. And we have been pulling the thread to see what we found and how much is true and how much is not.

-Is there a lot of lies within the sector?

-It is difficult to quantify it. It would take a greater study than we can do, but I can say that we have started looking and, without much difficulty, we have found certain fraud that the consumer suffers without being able to avoid. In the end, it turns out that consumers are helpless against those who slip us one product for another at the first exchange.

-Are these cases more difficult for someone like you?

-Man, they affect us in the same way, because we all eat and we all want to take care of what we put in our mouths, but it is true that I consume more products, because not only do I buy for my home but I also buy for others. So, I like to know that the quality that I am offering to my client is endorsed in a product that is the one I want to buy. I make an effort to buy a product that is of national origin and of the highest quality, but if it turns out that someone is straining the cucumbers of God knows where as if they were from here … And that is something that I cannot monitor. An institution or an organization has to do it for me.

-There is also a chapter dedicated to Asian food.

-More than the Asian one, it is dedicated to the food that to a greater extent we order at home in Spain. Before the pandemic, without there being this explosion that there is now that all restaurants bring your food to your home to try to save this complicated situation that we live in, we saw that the most possible food at home was Asian. That is why we went to find out what is the perception that the Chinese community in Spain has of these restaurants and how and where does that food that comes to your home come from.

-Do you usually order at home?

– The truth is that no, because I already do it (laughs). I don’t need anyone to come and bring me food, but this is my particular case, because not everyone can prepare everything at home.

“Consumers are helpless against those who slip us one product for another”

-In spite of having been doing it all day in the restaurant.

-No. I choose the type of things that are good for me for one day or another, or the day I have more time I prepare food for a few days … For example, since I don’t have time to cook today, because I’m going to be cooking all morning interviews, because I already left it done yesterday. So, I have some baby squid that later I will put on the fire and, when I have the food break, I will eat them. And like God.

-When was this season recorded?

-Just before the pandemic. In fact, we planned to have recorded eight shows, but we couldn’t finish them all. We ran into lockdown just as we were filming, so we have a slightly shorter run than usual. The previous ones were eight and this one is going to be six.

-How has this year been so bad for the hospitality industry?

-Personally, well, because in my family we have not suffered, as in others, having lost a loved one. And business and work… well what a disaster. We had planned to have finished filming ‘Are you going to eat it?’ and to have immediately started the eighth season of ‘Nightmare in the kitchen’, and we couldn’t, because in these conditions you can’t still record a program like this. And as for restaurants, we are trying to get ahead as best we can, but it is very complicated, because it seems that everything around us has turned directly against us. On the one hand, there are people who do not want to leave the house because they are afraid of contagions, and then the image that has been created around the sector does not help either. It seems that we are responsible for most of the infections that have occurred in the country and that restaurants are the mouth of the wolf. So everything is very, very, very difficult.

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