In order to celebrate the good news we got, we went to the Gustu restaurant in Calle 10, #300 in Calacoto. We wanted to celebrate, and that was all! We had no idea about what we would find.
First we had two cocktails: Constanza’s got ginger beer with some spices, and mine was cucumber with other herbs. We started to enjoy the fabulous flavours, when a waitress came with delicious French fries with special condiments. She started to explain what the main components were. The experience kept improving when we got local bread with three types of butter: normal butter, quinua butter and coca butter. What a delicacy!
Then we went into the main dishes. Constanza had Solomillo, with blood powder, while I had Surubi (local fish) with cooked and fried plantains, all served on a plantain leaf. This was real delight. Then we had plátano and sandia as desserts, and the whole meal finished with Coa Mate and Huira Mate.
Though we were happy because the restaurant and its quality food were the result of Denmark and Bolivia cooking together, in reality we had no idea where we were. After having drunk the two mates, I had no idea about what was Noma or who is Claus Meyer. I didn’t know that Claus Meyer is the Danish chef who has been selected several times as best cook in the world, and Noma is the best restaurant in Copenhagen! How to link Meyer, Noma and Calacoto?
There were two main reasons for Claus Meyer to select La Paz: one was the infinite variety of local food coming from the altiplano, from the Amazons and from the Chaco, which gives anyone with a bit of creativity the enormous possibility of developing delicious local, seasonal cuisine! Through the Bolivian experience Gustu is developing food and dishes at the international/global level. The second main reason to select Bolivia was because of the partnership that Meyer had developed with the Danish NGO Ibis, who works also in Bolivia.
After paying our bill, we were ready to leave. The administrator called a taxi that would take us back home. The taxi took its time… and didn’t come. Then the administrator asked us if we wanted to visit the kitchen. The second cook in command came to us. Though we were expecting to visit the kitchen that you see from your table, we were amazed when she took us to the underground, where the main dishes are prepared. About 50-60 Danish and Bolivian cooks were there, doing real magic. Then we went into de Laboratory, where the main Cook develops the menu and the dishes which are changed regularly. There we could see the boards, formulas, trials and errors!
Gustu is a delicious place to go. It is a place like Heston Blumenthal’s in London, but using local Bolivian food with its particular flavour and delight. Food is served by waitresses who take the time to explain what you are eating. If you want to develop a really strategic project on Food Security or Food Sovereignty, Gustu is a place to learn about it.
If you go to La Paz, you should try it!