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- Saturday, 17 January 2015 13:00 | Written by Matthias Tesi Baur
1. Tesi: Dear Gianfranco, we haven’t spoken since a while. Tell me about what happened in the last year and on which projects you are working at the moment
Gianfranco: Well since the last time we spoke we have released the Golden Edition of the New Renaissance of Italian Fusion Cuisine which comprises the best ten recipes of each one of the Jewel Books of the trilogy (Emerald, Pearl and Ruby editions) + 30 brand new recipes. Also we have been immersed in the South American region doing extensive work in Bolivia, Peru, Chile, Brazil and Colombia.
In all these countries, our company Chiarini Culinary Consultants have opened offices and is present in all activities related to the research of new indigenous ingredients and preparations as well as the development and engineering of new fusion menus in these countries. Also our company is consulting exclusive restaurants to bring HACCP and other food manipulating processes up to international standards.
We are currently undergoing the design and opening in April of two restaurants in La Paz, Bolivia (Magenta in the Osira Business Hotel and Terra in the Stannum Boutique Hotel) both being designed and executed by Chiarini Culinary Consultants under my name and menus. Such menus embrace the European Technique and cutting edge processes with the use of 95% Bolivian products. We are also engaged with Alimentos Delizia Srl. In the design and production of three concepts for the massive food manufacturing industry.
As you know I am also a Food Engineer aside from being a Chef and our company also gives the services of Food Product Design and Engineering. We are very active as pioneers in South America and the first Culinary Group to take seriously to the next level the food industry and several outlets to leave our deep fingerprint in this powerful and upcoming region. Some of the most important success stories in La Paz, Bolivia are: Fellini (Italian Restaurant), Factory (American Grill), Chili Pepper (Mexican Grill) and the creation of Magenta and Terra.
It is an exciting process what we are doing in South America and specifically in this last and next months in Bolivia. Finally we are undergoing investigation and the preparation of the Bolivian Trilogy Books as well as scheduling trips to our sister companies in Chile and Brazil in this upcoming March and April. Very, very excited.
2. Tesi: Bolivia sounds extremely interesting also the culinary uniqueness of the country is largely unknown in the world. How would you describe the culinary landscape of Bolivia and how the country is developing?
Gianfranco: Indeed Bolivia is our biggest project as we are spending lots of time and resources developing the culinary path to internationalization of these exciting culinary and indigenous products. The landscape of Bolivia is mysterious, rough, and very much varied. For example: El Alto in Bolivia, where the airport is settled; is at 4.400 meters above sea level. The oxygen is scarce and you can feel the pressure in your head temples and neck and the head aches due to the lack of oxygen. It is funny when you realize that in El Alto you are currently walking at an altitude where planes are supposed to be flying with pressurized cabins.
But there are higher altitudes where people live in the Bolivian Altiplano, like 5.200 meters. In these altitudes is where the Quinoa grows. In a very arid areas where oxygen is a luxury this miracle grain blooms with colorful flowers; which resembles cotton and the colors vary from orange, yellow, red, pink all the way to blue and green. The grains are divided in three colors, White, Black and Red and Quinoa Real in its most Organic form is what Bolivia prides in. The Salar de Uyuni or the Salt Desert of Uyuni is also another interesting area at high altitude where Quinoa grows and Salt is being produced.
Going at lower altitudes is where you find the Political Capital; La Paz at an altitude of 3.200 meters above sea level. La Paz is the Political seat of the government and it’s known for potatoes and corn growing, more than 2.500+ different types of potatoes and well over 300+ different types of corn with various colors and shapes as well as flavors. Descending to more microclimatic areas, passing the enigmatic and intimidating “Death Road” where hundreds of people have lost their lives and we have the thrilling experience of passing in the middle of rainy and slippery roads where only a truck and a small car can barely fit and you see cliffs of well over 400 meter, you arrive to Yungas where the flavorful Altitude Coffee grows at 1.300 mts and has this fruity and acidic Arabica coffee taste.
Then you have more tropical areas like Santa Cruz which is the upcoming touristic and millionaire city where mega malls, fancy cars and artificial beaches are being built. Definitely this stands as the economical capital of Bolivia. But there are more and more places to go and explore and this upcoming March and April we will definitely immerse ourselves in them.
3. Tesi: What is your favorite Bolivian dish?
Gianfranco: there are many and curious dishes but the ones stand out are: Pique Macho, Fricassee, Plato Paceño, Pesque de Quınua, Quispiña de Quinua and the spectacular Marraqueta…a hard bread that can only be made to perfection in La Paz due to its dry climate which allows the hard crust characteristic that reminds me the baguette. Definitely delicious with a spicy sauce made of Locoto peppers and it’s called Llajua or Llasjua. A great snack.
4. Tesi: It all sounds great but as I know you I assume future projects are already lined up. What’s next?
Gianfranco: there are more and more clients pilling up in diverse Bolivian cities and we have planned an interesting show in April along with the opening of Magenta, Terra and an interesting Ice cream shop (Pistakio) which will have some of my new Savory Ice cream recipes. There are some things in the pipe line but I will appraise you and the entire World Gourmet Society, once they are confirmed and signed. For now those are confidential projects ;)
Matthias Tesi Baur
For more information please visit: https://www.facebook.com/Gianfranco.Chiarini