We begin the second cycle of dialogues “Discovering the Chilean Landscape” organized by the Landscape Culture Corporation with a conversation about Landscape in the [New] Chilean Cooking with the renowned chef of Boragó Restaurant Rodolfo Guzmán and architect and researcher Romy Hecht. Each dialogue of this second version is an attempt to understand and appreciate our landscape from the senses, perceived as the result of the interaction between nature and human settlements and as an opportunity to develop our identity and heritage.
Thursday, August 31 was the beginning of the second cycle of dialogues “Discovering the Chilean Landscape,” organized by the Landscape Culture Corporation (www.culturadepaisaje.com), which has the objective of building new landscape narratives capable of identifying and representing fragments of our national past, revealing some of the stories that our landscape tells.
In the first dialogues we had Rodolfo Guzmán − founding chef of Boragó Restaurant, ranked as one of the 50 best in the world, who has developed a Chilean cuisine based on ingredients that, for centuries, have shaped and characterized the national territory − and Romy Hecht − architect, researcher, and academic of the School of Architecture of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile in undergraduate and postgraduate courses in History and Landscape Theory, directing her efforts at constructing a comprehensive history of landscape projects in Chile. Through the discussion, Rodolfo and Romy led us to a typological understanding of the territory as a diversity of regional units characterized by their geographical configuration.
Based on his work and experience at Boragó, Guzmán spoke about the five elements that are decisive in the operation of outstanding restaurants in the world. These are territory, culture, technique, and seasonal products and a fifth element that consists of perfect management of the previous four. All these components have in common the constant search for deep knowledge and strong learning. A learning process that happens over time, but as Guzman points out “we cooks are artisans, not artists. “The chef who cuts the fish the best is one who has been able to develop that skill after having worked for years with a Japanese teacher.”
Since 2006, the year in which the restaurant Boragó was created, Rodolfo and his team have devoted themselves to touring, researching, and documenting the Chilean territory and its cuisine, and the cultural background of ingredients unique in the world − products that have been used by native peoples not only to satisfy a basic need for food but also to satisfy a spiritual need, that of the connection to territory. Today, says Guzmán, these ingredients can become a true revolution, generating new cultural opportunities for Chile: “to look back to walk forward, trying to connect our past with a possible future.” This is the (new) Chilean cuisine, one that encourages us to know and understand who we are and what our origin is.
One of the remarkable moments of the dialogue was the presentation of the short film called “A year around the Peumo” through which Guzmán poetically exemplified his eagerness to reflect what the soil gives us now and also to give an account of the permanent evolution of products throughout the year. The documentary presents the process of preparing, during a year, a dessert based on the fruit of the peumo tree. The objective of the dessert is to tell the dinner guests the history of the peumo fruit, its characteristics, different states and evolution, how it grows, at what time of the year it can be found, where and how it is collected. Guzmán adds, “We had been observing this tree for many years. So why not prepare a dessert based on everything that happens around the tree during the year?”
Without a doubt, with the presentation of “A Year Around the Peumo,” Rodolfo provoked our imaginations as to what the flavor of the peumo could be; he stimulated our senses and offered us a culinary “experience” that goes beyond the act of eating, an experience whose creative preparations, aromas, assembly, and staging invite us to “eat” a tree, a forest, a landscape, a country.
The cycle of dialogues “Discovering the Chilean Landscape” will continue on Thursday, September 28 with the painter and artist Ismael Frigerio and PhD in Architecture, Gloria Saravia. They will discuss the work of Frigerio “Cruz del Sur” (The Southern Cross) in Registros, Visiones y Paisajes (Records, Visions, and Landscapes) and on Thursday October 19 with multi-instrumentalist and multi-collaborator Cuti Aste and Architect with a Master’s in Architecture Emilio de la Cerda, who will talk about the sounds of the Chilean landscape. The sessions will be held in the Auditorium of the PUC School of Architecture, El Comendador 1936, 4th floor. Free to the public, limited space available. Registration: firstname.lastname@example.org
Organized by the Landscape Culture Corporation in collaboration with Master’s in Landscape Architecture Program UC /School of Architecture UC / LOFscapes/ La Popular Pizza y Pan /Quesos Tambo Alto.
Additional Bibliography: Webpage Boragó Restaurant, www.boragó.cl