Endemic cuisine

Boragó Restaurant: Endemic Cuisine that Recovers Mapuche Flavors and Techniques

Federico Tibytt

Chef Rodolfo Guzmán offers the best autochthonous Chilean cuisine and has embraced a campaign in support of Chile’s culinary identity.

In the list of the best restaurants in Latin America 2016—published by the prestigious international magazine “50 Best Restaurants”—it is not surprising to find Boragó among the first places. The restaurant in Santiago de Chile has become a point of reference in the gastronomic universe.

This well-deserved reputation recognizes the innovative proposals of its chef and owner Rodolfo Guzmán, who describes his style as “endemic cuisine” based on the products and century-old techniques of the Mapuche communities of his native Chile.

Before founding Boragó in 2006, Guzmán had the privilege to work and train in great European kitchens, including award-winning restaurants like Mugaritz—owned by the renowned Basque chef Andoni Luis Aduriz—where he began to assimilate refined preparation techniques that would later be introduced to his personal projects.

Boragó is a fabulous restaurant that offers dishes prepared with products that reflect Chilean identity. These are cultivated using natural and ecological production methods that meet the Mapuche concepts of supply and collection.

For example, the milk used in their amazing homemade fruit and floral ice cream is fresh and produced exclusively for the restaurant. The vegetables—irrigated with water from Patagonian rain—come from their orchard, which is located only half an hour away from Boragó.

The meats and fish are sourced from local ranchers and fishermen while the rest of the products used are obtained by seasonal harvesting.

Boragó has a network of over 200 local producers and vendors that supply the restaurant with exotic raw materials, including edible flowers, rocks that provide mineral flavors to dishes, tubers from Chiloe Island, and exotic mountain herbs. For example, one of its most lauded preparations is the fried conger (a sea fish) garnished with basil chlorophyll and mashed purple potatoes. 

Thanks to his modern concept of combining the Chilean culinary traditions with sophisticated European techniques, Guzmán has received the “Chefs’ Choice Prize”, a yearly award given by chefs to honor their peers.

This trend of developing unique cuisine identities follows similar circumstances in other South American countries. Such is the case of the work of Peruvian chef Virgilio Martinez at Central Restaurant and his Peruvian colleagues, who have elevated their local cuisine to the center stage of world gastronomy.

Rodolfo Guzman heads a research movement that aims to catalog all of Chile’s endemic products, describing their production processes, culinary applications, and cooking modes. Additionally, it seeks to document the ancestral culinary techniques of native peoples and other populations to leave a cultural legacy that protects the local history and promotes the natural production of indigenous foods.

Thanks to the delicacy of its dishes, international recognition, and productive consciousness, Boragó of Santiago is a mandatory visit on your next Chilean scape. A small tip: book well in advance because it already has confirmed reservations for the next several months.

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