“We need to cook what [we] are” exclaims Patricio Cáceres Pérez, owner of Motemei, a culinary workshop in the Vitacura section of Chile’s capital city of Santiago. A national gastronomic culture is coming into its own after Roldofo Guzmán, the wunderkind chef who founded Boragó ten years ago, inspired his contemporaries to rediscover Chile’s endemic animals and plants and explore old recipes and to use ingredients in innovative ways. (The most recent “World’s 50 Best Restaurants” survey came out earlier this month and Boragó, located in Vitacura as well, ranked number 42.)
Cáceres Pérez wants chefs and diners alike to focus on fundamentals and appreciate the natural bounty of Chile’s soil, lakes, rivers and the Pacific Ocean. Located on three continents – South America, Antarctica, and Oceania – Chile is home to a diverse range of landscapes. In fact, there is no one “best” time to visit the country since the climates are so distinct. Spring and fall may allow visitors to experience pleasant weather in Santiago, for instance, and fewer crowds in national parks, but locals say that trips can be planned at any time as long as the traveler researches the destination and knows what type of weather is typical for the location when he or she plans to go there.