Miguel Tur: Local produce in San Antonio municipality, the island’s main producer
Chef, businessman, politician… After having cooked in different countries throughout the world, run – and even owned – various restaurants, in 2019 Miguel Tur embarked on one of the most exciting adventures of his life: heading the Department of Tourism of San Antonio City Council. With two year’s experience in politics, Tur combines the role with his work as a culinary consultant and is more proud than ever of his city, San Antonio: ‘a municipality that has it all’.
Who is Miguel Tur and what do you do as part of San Antonio City Council?
I’m a chef and restaurateur from Ibiza who, due to the ins and outs of life, as I like to say, got involved in the world of politics and now I’m head of the Department of Tourism of San Antonio City Council.
Have you completely abandoned cooking?
I continue to juggle everything. Working at the City Council takes up about 80% of my time. Life as a chef and the world of hospitality is something that I like and, for the time being, I have no intention of leaving it behind.
Life as a chef is something that I like and, for the time being, I have no intention of leaving it behind
How do you combine both jobs and how has your life changed since you become involved in politics?
If I’m honest I never stop. My dog doesn’t see me very often these days… I don’t have as much free time as I did before but the truth is I’m happy to do it. When you get involved in politics, you don’t do it for the money but for the professional side of things, for your love of your city and your willingness to improve. In the end you manage to juggle everything by working long hours and not sleeping very much.
This is your second year as a councillor. What has your work consisted of during this time?
When the mayor, Marcos Serra, was appointing councillors, he thought of me for the tourism position. He was very clear about the route we had to take: changing San Antonio’s tourism model. At the moment we are immersed in that change: we want to attract a different type of tourist, someone who doesn’t just come for leisure and entertainment, but quality leisure and entertainment. We want to appeal to more family-oriented tourists, people with more of an interest in gastronomy, as well as LGBTI tourists. We want to disassociate ourselves slightly from the binge tourism that San Antonio has had for so many years.
Would you say that San Antonio is the highest producing municipality on the island?
Yes, because I can safely say that San Antonio boasts over 200 hectares of eco-friendly produce; we have an olive oil mill, a fisherman’s association, an agriculture cooperative, wineries... In the end, it ensures that the produce that is supplied to our restaurants and hotels is top quality. I think as a municipality we have it all.
How has San Antonio’s productive framework evolved over recent years?
I think everything comes hand in hand with generational change. Younger people are taking over with more enthusiasm. In terms of tourism, aside from supplying us with incredible produce, the countryside also gives us great beauty, because agriculture allows tourists to enjoy the charm of this clean and well-tended land. I think, in the same way as gastronomy, the countryside is becoming fashionable. There are more and more young people working the land. Cooperatives are also doing all they can, for instance, to plant almond trees, olive trees… and to regenerate the area.
I think, in the same way as gastronomy, the countryside is becoming fashionable
How is support being given to San Antonio’s local produce?
Support for farmers’ markets, cooperatives and subsidies from the City Council always do a lot of good, so that farmers and fishermen can compete and move forward. We want more and more restaurateurs and hotel owners in San Antonio to buy local produce.
And is that objective being met at the present time?
I think so. Everything that is currently produced in San Antonio is sold, I believe. But that needs to increase. However, as always you have to remember that Ibiza is an island and the amount of land we have is limited. Local produce is sold but at the end of the day you’ve also got to rely on some produce from elsewhere.
What challenges are yet to be met to help small local producers?
It’s early days for everything we’re doing. Right now, Ibiza is very famous for its music and entertainment, but things are changing. Ibiza is starting to become known for its gastronomy and the municipality of San Antonio even more so. We have the first Michelin Star on the island and several Repsol Suns, which give us credibility and are an important cornerstone to help back up the municipality. We can’t say that we’ve changed everything in two years, but we’ve got a lot of ideas and a long way to go and we will always work together with restaurateurs and producers.
How would you assess the current state of affairs for gastronomy and the restaurant sector in San Antonio?
I think that if all the great chefs in the world want to come to Ibiza, it’s because gastronomy on the island is thriving on a global scale. And, in regard to San Antonio specifically, I think that, out of all the island’s municipalities, we really are the most essential for anyone who wants to discover Ibiza’s gastronomy, because we have everything from a Michelin-starred restaurant to restaurants serving local produce that are right up there with the best. San Antonio represents the pinnacle of gastronomy on the island.
San Antonio is an essential place for anyone who wants to discover Ibiza’s gastronomy
What do you hope for San Antonio this year?
I hope that everyone is able to work, that we have a decent season, that the Government of the Balearic Islands and the Spanish Government support us and that they see the importance of tourism. What’s most essential, at this point in time, are the people and that everyone can work in order to feed their families. We are committed and we will channel all our efforts for this purpose to the extent possible. However, at the end of the day, a lot of the power is out of our hands requiring those higher up to defend tourism, which up until now doesn’t seem to have been the case.