Chile is a long, narrow country with the Andes as its mountainous spine and miles and miles of rocky, untouched coastline, very little of which has been exploited for its endemic edible plants. Former professional competitive water skier turned world class chef, Rodolfo Guzman is leading the charge to change that. He opened his restaurant Boragó in Santiago six years ago and from the beginning has been working to utilize Chile’s amazing myriad of native plants, seafood and other products. In a country that has focused on European style produce, this hasn’t been easy, but with his imagination, dedication and skill, Boragó has become known as one of the world’s most exciting restaurants.
Chef Guzman and his Sous Chef Tommy de Olarte took myself and Bonjwing Lee, both of us in Santiago to explore the country’s culinary products courtesy of Foods From Chile, foraging along the nearby rugged coast, where we found a number of fascinating and delicious wild products that were to be used later that same night in our dinner at the restaurant.Pictured in the photo is Chef Guzman opening up a “sea strawberry”, the fruit of an abundant wild plant that has the marvelous scent of of a wild strawberry as well as a sweet and slightly saline strawberry-like flavor that was both familiar and exotic at the same time. Climbing up and down along the rocks and approaching the sea, we found and harvested amongst other things, the sea strawberries, several types of native oxalis and red and green salicornia that made both chefs very excited.
I will be posting much more on Chef Guzman, Boragó and Chile over the next few months. Please stay tuned as this is something you won’t want to miss!