Bolivian restaurant creates a stronger value chain

At the gourmet restaurant GUSTU, they are working exclusively with Bolivian products from all regions of the country to demonstrate the Bolivian diversity and richness to the world.

Bolivia is South America's poorest country. Nevertheless, the Danish chef Claus Meyer, IFU and a local NGO have invested in a newly established gourmet restaurant located in Bolivia's capital La Paz. The goal of the restaurant is not only to serve great food to wealthy guests, but also to develop and brand Bolivian food culture and to educate disadvantaged local youngsters.

New Bolivian food manifesto

The outset of the project was a large gastronomic symposium back in 2012, held as a kick-off event for the new Bolivian food manifesto. At the symposium, the Bolivian food manifesto was adopted to revitalize the Bolivian cuisine and restore the pride of Bolivian dishes and ingredients.

The local NGO Melting Pot Bolivia, which is founded by the Danish NGO IBIS and Claus Meyer, is the focal point of the new movement. Besides organising an annual Bolivian gastronomic symposium and other local activities, Melting Pot Bolivia has also been responsible for establishing a cooking school where students enrol with the goal of becoming great chefs. The training takes one and a half year and the practical part of the training is conducted at GUSTU.

A showcase of Bolivia’s true potential in food culture

Restaurant GUSTU officially opened in April 2013 and has room for 90 guests. All products used in GUSTU’s food and beverage services must be farmed, produced, grown, processed and developed on Bolivian territory and by Bolivian hands. GUSTU works to source from small-scale producers, farmers and artisan businesses.

- By helping these small-scale producers gain access to greater commercial opportunities, we can boost employment and take them to the next level in terms of farming methodologies and technology and at the same time get excellent products for our restaurant, says Michelanglo Cestari, CEO of GUSTU.

High sustainability standard

One of the basic requirements that GUSTU’s providers have to comply with is that they must have proper legal status. They also have to have a transparent and honest organisational structure, good working conditions for their employees and make sure that children do not work on the farm. The products must be grown, farmed and produced under clean and healthy conditions. GUSTU also helps train the farmers so that they can guarantee that environmental responsibility is undertaken during planting, growing and harvesting.

These high sustainability standards provide the basis for GUSTU creating a positive development impact in their value chain. This has also been acknowledged by the Bolivian president who announced that GUSTU is a source of Bolivian pride.

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