Dubbed Chile’s native son by his restaurant peers, Rodolfo Guzman is taking the farm-to-table concept to a whole new level. He is one of Chile’s most famous chefs, at the helm of Boragó, a restaurant where everything served is 100 percent Chilean and, most likely, sourced by the chef himself.
After an injury forced him to rethink his career path, he thought about what he loved most. There were two answers: Chile and food. “When I was 20 I was injured, and at that moment, I had to decide what I really wanted to do with my life," said Guzman. "Since food had always been a part of my childhood, and it was the one thing I kept with me growing up, I turned to that. “
After graduating from culinary school, he trained under Andoni Luis Aduriz at Mugaritz in Spain. While there, he decided to take the idea of cooking and serving food one step further. He became interested in the relationship between food, health, mood and culinary technique. His culinary focus became centered on the relationship between mood and food, but the history of his native land and all it has to offer was his grounding force.
“Chilean tradition is all I know," Guzman said. "It’s what I grew up with. It’s my childhood, my memories. So obviously, it’s where I source most of my techniques. Using native cooking methods, or at least looking to them for inspiration.”
Guzman took these methods to the kitchen when he opened Boragó in 2007. Today, it is one of Latin America’s best restaurants. The year it opened, Boragó was named Best New Restaurant by El Mercurio's Wikén magazine and since then has been ranked Number 8 on San Pellegrino's The World’s 50 Best Restaurants in Latin America list and labeled The Best Restaurant in Chile.
Yet, in Santiago, Guzman says Boragó doesn’t get the response you would think.
“Here in Santiago when people go out they want to eat fancy, French food," Guzman said. "But obviously what we do is something different. We wanted to create a menu around products and foods you can only find here in Chile. At first, we had some trouble with the people in Santiago. They thought we were crazy. Although now that we've gotten a bit of recognition, people are beginning to come in and be proud of what their country has. And people from out of the country have begun to come in to see a bit of what Chile has to offer. So in that respect the response to us has improved. People just want to come and eat what we serve now.”
Next, how Guzman works to serve Chile on a plate...