Rafael Ansón talks about IE Gastronomy

[vc_row full_width=”” parallax=”” parallax_image=””][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]The director of IE Gastronomy and president of Spain’s Royal Academy of Gastronomy, Rafael Ansón, is convinced that, above all, business schools should develop well­ rounded human beings.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_width=”” parallax=”” parallax_image=””][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]A few years ago it probably would have been inconceivable that a business school would teach you how to eat well. But Rafael Ansón is convinced of “the need to show future managers how to invest time in their well­being: in management, nutrition and welfare”.

IE Gastronomy, an initiative directed by Ansón in collaboration with Banco Popular and the Telefónica Foundation, offers students, professors and professionals with ties to IE the chance to learn about nutrition and health.

Ansón firmly believes that the reasons people don’t eat in a healthy way are not economic: “I think the problem is lack of knowledge. It’s possible to eat well at reasonable prices,” he says. “What’s happened is that families, which used to transmit these values, no longer have the time.”

Rafael Ansón is convinced that food influences every aspect of life. “After our genes, what most affects well­being is how we eat. Cuisine is also very important in the economy and for sustainability.” And he gives some examples: “It has been shown that a considerable percentage of the public health costs are caused by bad diet. There is also a study that shows that by changing the way we eat we could reduce absenteeism from work. Thirdly, it affects tourism. And let’s not forget that gastronomy accounts for around 20% of the GDP.”

But there’s probably an even more important consequence: the human aspect. “Eating is the place where all social relationships take place. It favors these relationships.” Although it might seem that Mediterranean culture is the best example of social relations around a table, Ansón –recently returned from Singapore– reveals that the people in this Asian country give eating even more importance. “They do only two things: work and eat. It’s their only free time. They don’t eat to nourish themselves but as a social event, to compensate for fourteen or fifteen hours of work.”

The idea for IE Gastronomy arose from the understanding that professional success can only come if it’s based on our well­being and the quality of life. “We don’t teach people how to eat but to understand that they have to take time to learn how to do it” says Ansón. “Little by little, in all groups, the leaders are coming to the realization that they have to think about the personal dimension. And this is profitable because a person works more efficiently if he feels well.”

In Rafael Ansón’s words, it’s not just a question of developing professionals, “but of also preparing people for their leisure time.” If he had to choose nonacademic areas in which to educate students, they would be physical activity and the art of conversation.

Naturally the online aspect, directed by Yolanda Regodón, will play a crucial role in this project. “The digital world multiplies everything we can do. We live in a new age: the digital era. Part of IE Gastronomy will require face to face sessions, but it is going to be available online, so that thousands of people can join this world of well­being that the 21st century requires.”

Ansón said he was impressed by the fact that a successful institution like IE is still looking for ways to improve: “IE has overcome the crisis admirably, and while its model is successful, it continues to incorporate new systems and adapt to change.” He ended with a charming reflection: “Students are going to come to IE because they know that, in addition to learning how to be good professionals, they’re preparing to have greater quality of life and be happier.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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