Friday, April 15, 2016

Gustu and Culinary Diplomacy in Bolivia

Just saw this article in the New Yorker about how Chef Rene Redzepi, founder of the top-rated restaurant in the world, started a restauarant with an NGO in La Paz, Bolivia. It combines culinary diplomacy with a seemingly functional two-way development model. 

Some excerpts: 
 "Meyer realized that their strategy was flawed: they could not run an ambitious restaurant and teach staff members the rudiments of kitchen work at the same time. He devised a two-tiered system for training employees. Melting Pot would start a network of entry-level cooking schools in El Alto, where their students lived. The top graduates would be eligible for scholarships to continue their studies at Gustu."


"Seidler needed to please many kinds of people: prominent Bolivians, the local press, the international press, travel bloggers, food tourists, regular tourists, backpackers, Bolivian ex-pats who are nostalgic for flavors from their childhood, and judges for Latin America’s Fifty Best Restaurants, a ranking started in 2013. She had to come up with a formula that nobody else had. “It is almost like an international game,” Meyer told me. “We don’t compete with the restaurant next door.”


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