Seven years ago chef Rodolfo Guzman founded his innovative restaurant Boragó in Vitacura in eastern Santiago. From its conception, the restaurant struggled through booms and busts, and teetered on the edge of bankruptcy a handful of times.
“It was difficult for the Chilean culinary press to understand this; they had no way to catalogue or classify it,” Guzman told This is Chile.
Now, those days are long gone. Featured in world-class publications like Saveur and The Atlantic, Boragó has now firmly established itself on the international culinary scene as innovators – not just in Chile, but worldwide.
The Meaning of Endemic Cuisine
The brainchild of chef Guzman, who had dreams of a restaurant like it as far back as 2004, Boragó takes the idea of eating local to an extreme. The menu centers around products that grow wild in Chile, an idea that Guzman has coined ‘endemic,’ or as Merriam Webster defines it, “belonging or native to a particular people or country.”
The menu centers around wild fruits, veggies, and herbs that grow naturally in Chile – many of which the chefs have physically foraged for themselves. Twice a week a team of from the restaurant sets out into different natural habitats around Santiago to look for new elements to incorporate into the weekly menu. Several times a year they run longer expeditions to farther removed locations like Chiloé and Easter Island.
Apart from native ingredients, the team studies ancient cooking methods used by Chile’s pre-Columbian peoples – the Pehuenche and Mapuche. Some ingredients are slow cooked in ashes or roasted over hot volcanic rocks.
“[Boragó] is about our roots, our culture, and most importantly the earth,” Guzman described.
March 16th Birthday Celebration
This Saturday March 16th, Boragó will celebrate its anniversary with an extra-special feast. Diners will be transported from Santiago to an exclusive ocean-side dining location and showered with a lavish multi-course meal.
The meal has a cost of US$ 212 (CLP 100,000). Reservations are available online or by calling (56)(2) 2 953 8893. Diners must be at the restaurant in Vitacura at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. From there, the restaurant will transport guests to the coastal town of Lilén north of Valparaíso.
By Gwynne Hogan