A mind-blowing food experience at Boragó (with an unexpected visit to the food laboratory!)
#26 of The World´s 50 Best Restaurant, Boragó, in Santiago de Chile, is run by the chef Rodolfo Guzmán
The food, the work behind each dish, the philosophy that each plate brought to our table… it was overwhelming.
After struggling to keep the restaurant open for years, Guzmán has got a place amongst the top chefs in the world. He didn´t know how to explain what he was doing, which was to put in place and value the ancient Chilean food, using indigenous ingredients, used already for the native Chilenas Mapuches.
The tasting menu at Boragó is a trip along Chile through its food, but literally. From the Atacama desert to Patagonia. I tasted seeds, plants, berries, herbs, seaweeds, roots… I never have had before. It was just incredible to see and taste the diversity of new ingredients (for me) and new flavours. What Guzmán makes with them is incredible: bitter, tart, sour, acid… all flavours turn into something delicious and different when are combined in the plate. Like something magic!
I will never forget the flavour of the copihue flower (Chilean national flower), the fermented nalca (Chilean rhubarb), the maqui petals with palometa ceviche, crudo of deer (a new version of the Chilean steak tartar) with amazing, super tasty clover, or the bitter plants from Atacama dessert with rose…
Also, the dishes are beautiful! Someone said it´s an Instagramable restaurant. Yes, but it´s more than just a beautiful dish made for a social media tool. It´s the colours from Nature, bright, vivid, diverse, that create something harmonious in the plate.
He works with foraging communities and small producers. Using these native ingredients has helped these farmers to have a living of their crops and products. The products are seasonal, really seasonal. Some of them are in season only one month per year, so the menu has to change regularly.
The techniques in the kitchen are a mix of the most modern and ancient ones: from fermentation to merkén (a Mapuche preservation process), using rescoldo (cooking in ashes) steaming, or upside-down “asado al palo” from Patagonia.
I spent the night in a wow. Everything was new and surprising for me. A restaurant experience I will never forget. I did so many questions and was so interested that the waiter guessed I was related to the food sector professionally.
He came at the end of the dinner to invite us to visit the kitchen laboratory they have next to the restaurant. A chef who works with Rodolfo Guzmán developing new dishes took us to visit that special part of Boragó, where the magic happens. He told us about what they are experimenting now, how to store the ingredients from local farmers from all around the country, some are thousands of miles away!, or how they design the plates and how to serve the food.
It was just unforgettable!