New Route Publié le 15 juin 2019

Kamilla Seindler, the Danish chef who allied with Andean rural development

Through her work she managed to positively impact the Bolivian society, helping to reinforce their cultural identity and to promote their local cuisine.

Kamilla Seindler is known for being the best female chef in Latin America and for running the famous Bolivian restaurant Gustu. However, there is much more behind these great achievements. Several years ago, she left the comfort of Europe and her professional success in well-known restaurants to embrace a culture very different from her own.
Gustu, recognized as one of the best in the world and awarded three Michelin stars, does much more than prepare extraordinary dishes. During the five and a half years she was in charge, the Danish chef managed to communicate how Bolivia surpasses challenges through its own gastronomic repertoire, while she discovered new facets of Bolivian culture and analysed new practices that would help her achieve future growth.

Much more than cooking

Her work has a sustainable character as it includes in its recipes only local products that are used according to the season of the year in which they are produced or collected. She mainly engaged herself to vindicate and highlight Bolivian culinary identity through its own ingredients and traditional dishes. Her contribution has helped revalue and enhance the gastronomic culture of that country. She contributed a lot to its progress, generating new jobs and inspiring entrepreneurs to create new business models. To strengthen her commitment to Bolivian society, the restaurant took forward an educational project that contributes to the elimination of the social gap, turning it into a culinary school for the less fortunate young people.

The proposal aimed at combining the traditional business concept with the possibility of causing a social impact. It has undoubtedly managed to convey that through cooking people can be helped in many ways and several things can be changed. It was a starting point for other workers in the gastronomic environment to provide their business model with an altruistic sense and this has inspired many others to make their contribution, however small, to create a better, fairer and more inclusive world.

Marsia Taha, Gustu’s souschef, explained on CNN: The experience of direct contact with the producer makes many things change in my head, and now I have much more respect for the products I consume since these go through a long process before coming to our table”.

The Danish chef recognizes that she faced great challenges. Among them, fighting for the recognition of her profession, making headway in an environment practically dominated by men and adapting to local customs.

As Kamille herself indicates in an interview with Forbes, “There are many things we had to solve. Cooking in high altitude, dealing with children. Everything is different, from religion to culture and society. Trying to find products to cook when there is no home delivery system, buying vegetables at the bus station or fish from a taxi”.

Women and cuisine

At present, it is estimated that there are 3,000 restaurants with Michelin stars, but only four percent of the chefs are women. In a profession dominated by men Kamilla has managed to stand out, to help the Bolivian society improve and make a living by doing what she loves.

«I think men are protagonists only if you think it so. I don’t go to restaurant and wonder “How many men have cooked here?” or think “It’s a good thing a woman works here”. We have to change the gender chip, otherwise we are participating and reinforcing that thought», the chef said in an interview for the Mexican Herald.

Not satisfied with her achievements, in 2018, Kamille embarked on a culinary adventure in which she toured several countries with different cultures that tested her mastery over Scandinavian and Latin American cuisine. Her work is an inspiration for many because she has proven that regardless of one’s status or profession, people can always rethink their task from another angle, adopting new approaches that contribute to the creation of a better world.