Amazonía Gastronómica: Celebrating Sustainable Foods from the Amazon

May 15, 2024 | By The Pachamama Alliance

DSC05186-1-1Amazonian inspired cocktail and appetizer by Chef Tata Rodriguez
Photo by Fundación Pachamama

On March 15, 2024, Fundación Pachamama organized the Amazonía Gastronómica event in Quito, Ecuador. Chefs, bartenders, and representatives from non-profit organizations and Indigenous communities gathered to showcase sustainable forest products and their many culinary uses. 

The event was also a great opportunity to launch the SACHA (Sustainable Activities for Conservation of a Healthy Amazon) project in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). For the duration of 5 years the SACHA project aims at promoting the conservation and sustainable use of Amazon forest ecosystems in the provinces of Napo, Pastaza, Morona Santiago and Zamora Chinchipe in the central and southern Ecuadorian Amazon to preserve biodiversity, improve the wellbeing of Indigenous peoples and local communities, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Fundación Pachamama will lead a consortium of non-governmental organizations, Indigenous associations, and private companies committed to Amazon rainforest conservation.

This gathering highlighted the diversity and culinary richness of the Amazon and the symbiotic relationship between traditional Indigenous knowledge, sustainable agriculture, and gastronomic innovation.

DSC05705-1Host Ana Carolina Maldonado with Chef Quique Sempere, Activist Nemo Guiquita, and Chef Alejando Huertas
Photo by Fundación Pachamama

The event's goals were to honor and protect ancestral agroforestry spaces that sustainably nurture Amazonian resources while promoting the mindful consumption of local, organic foods that allows for the sustainable management of natural resources.

By showcasing the gastronomic diversity of the Amazon, attendees were encouraged to engage in a sensory exploration by drinking guayusa tea and Amazonian inspired cocktails made by South American bartenders Ignacio Maggio and Handrez Variza.

Ecuadorian Chefs Tata Rodriguez, Valentina Alvarez, Quique Sempere, Alejandro Huertas, Andres Rosero, and Samuel Ortega channeled the flavors of the Amazon through their delicious appetizers that celebrated Indigenous knowledge, techniques, and emphasized the crucial role that local Indigenous communities (Waorani, Shuar, Achuar, Kichwa, Shiwiar, and Andwa) have as stewards of the Amazon in preserving cultural heritage and ecological balance.

DSC05737-1Appetizers by chef Samuel Ortega using Amazonian products
Photo by Fundación Pachamama

The Amazonía Gastronómica event was also a platform for connecting stakeholders to bolster the bioeconomy of the Amazon region. Representatives from different sectors came together to support bio-entrepreneurship, create channels for direct marketing of sustainable products, and advocate for food systems that meet the cultural and nutritional requirements of local communities and strengthen food sovereignty in the Amazon region.

The event also highlighted the essential role of women, known as "chakramamas", for their role in cultivating the family food gardens called "chakras" and preserving ancestral knowledge regarding these agroforestry systems, recognizing them as key figures in upholding tradition, and driving innovation in the Amazon.

The Fundación Pachamama team at the event.
Photo by Fundación Pachamama

The event agenda included:

  • Opening ceremony by Sápara leader Manari Ushigua
  • Masterclass by chefs Tatiana Rodríguez (La Chichería) and Valentina Álvarez (Iche)
  • Presentation of the SACHA Project by Daniel Sánchez Bustamante - Director of the USAID Mission in Ecuador and Javier Félix, Executive Director of Fundación Pachamama
  • Presentation of the Chefs in the Jungle project by Fundación Pachamama and chef Quique Sempere
  • Tasting of snacks and chefs' experiences in the Amazon territory by chefs: Alejandro Huertas, Quique Sempere, Andrés Rosero, Samuel Ortega, Valentina Álvarez, and Tatiana Rodríguez
  • Tasting of Amazonian cocktails by bartenders: Ignacio Maggio and Andrés Valencia
  • Amazonian bio-entrepreneurship fair

Over 300 people, including journalists, gastronomic and culinary influencers, executives from conservation and tourism sectors, students, the general public and more attended the event.