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BOLIVIAN RESTAURANT CREATES A STRONGER VALUE CHAIN

The gourmet restaurant GUSTU works exclusively with Bolivian products from all regions of the country to demonstrate the Bolivian diversity and richness to the world.

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

New Bolivian food movement

The outset of the project was a large gastronomic symposium back in 2012, held as a kick-off event for the new Bolivian food movement. 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 23 students at a time go through 1½ years of training to become chefs. The practical part of the training is conducted at GUSTU.

A showcase of Bolivia’s true potential in food culture

Restaurant GUSTU opened in the spring of 2013 and has room for 90 guests. All food and wine used in at GUSTU are 100 per cent Bolivian. All products used must be farmed, produced, grown, processed and developed on Bolivian territory and by Bolivian hands, and GUSTU focuses on sourcing from small-scale producers.

“Our collaboration with small-scale producers means that we get quality products for our restaurant and creates a larger commercial market for the local farmers”

Michelanglo Cestari, CEO of GUSTU

High sustainability standard

One of the basic requirements of the providers in GUSTU’s value chain is that they have to have a transparent organisational structure, good working conditions for their employees and make sure that children do not work on their farms. The products must be grown, farmed and produced under clean and healthy conditions. GUSTU has helped train the farmers so that the restaurant 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 has announced that GUSTU is a source of Bolivian pride.

Over a relatively short period, GUSTU has achieved great recognition for its cuisine. Several international food magazines have praised the restaurant, and it has moved up on the list of the 50 best restaurants in Latin America. In 2016, GUSTU moved to number 14 on the list, and the Danish head chef Kamilla Seidler was appointed best female chef on the continent.

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