On Tuesday, November 15, the Tenth Edition of Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants was held in Mérida (Mexico). There the Two Best Chefs in the Region were Chosen, Who Exalt Latin American Gastronomy, we will tell you Their Stories.
Photo: IG-manubuffara, Icon Awards
LatinAmerican Post | Daniel Alejandro Vergara
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The Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants award event was created in 2013 to recognize the region's gastronomy, provide information and support restaurants from Mexico to Argentina. The annual list of the 50 best restaurants in Latin America is selected by a group of 300 leaders of the gastronomic industry in the region. In this edition, the Brazilian Manoella “Manu” Buffara and the Spanish Rafael Rincón were recognized as the best chefs in the region. They have been highlighted for their initiatives for social and environmental transformation from gastronomy in Chile and Brazil.
Manu Buffara: cooking well-being and sustainability
Manu Buffara is a 39-year-old chef with more than 16 years of experience in the industry. Regarding her career, she has worked at the NOMA restaurant in Copenhagen, voted 5 times as one of the best in the world, she has also cooked at the renowned Alinea restaurant in Chicago. But beyond her career, what makes her deserving of this international recognition is what she has originated with her company MANU in Curitiba (Brazil).
Her concern for the physical and mental health of her workers, care for the environment and the socially responsible cuisine that Manu promotes, have made her the winner of the title of Best Female Chef in Latin America 2022. It is no secret to anyone that the gastronomic industry needs long and mitigating work days, which is why the chef reduced the number of tables in her flagship restaurant by half and the working day went from 5 to 4 days, all with the aim of generating greater well-being in her team.
But the innovation does not end there, the chef has helped make Curitiba one of the most representative places in Brazil in terms of gastronomy and social innovation. According to The World Best 50 portal, in 2020 she founded the Manu Bufarra Institute with which he has promoted various social actions such as a network of women who are dedicated to cooking food for the homeless, installing beehives and transforming urban spaces into places related to agroecology and food security.
In addition to changing many of her recipes to veganism, she also activism for the change to healthier diets in the school menus of girls and boys in Brazil. Buffara is about to open a new restaurant in New York called Ella and hopes to continue to revolutionize traditional concepts of cooking and gastronomy.
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Rafael Rincón: promoting social cooking in Chile
For his part, Rafael Rincón has also had a successful career in the industry, working in renowned restaurants such as La Broche in Madrid, Yashima in Barcelona and Nobu in London. But, without a doubt, his greatest achievements have been made since he moved to Chile in 2005. For this reason, despite being Spanish, he was recognized for his work in Latin America. In the southern country, he created a company called Foodies Chile through which he began to import organic and environmentally friendly products and supplies.
In 2019, the Iberian created the Social Gastronomy Foundation, which is dedicated to creating collaborative systems focused on promoting training, environmental and health care, social inclusion and food safety. The foundation also has programs such as the famous “Food for All”, whose objective is to eradicate hunger in Chile through multisectoral support between social organizations, producers and restaurants.
According to The World Best 50, in 2011, Rincón helped create the Ñam Festival, the largest gastronomic festival in Chile. It also has the "Microentrepreneurs" program in which gastronomy is used as a motor for change in the lives of various women in Chile based on female micro-entrepreneurship. This series of projects that Rafael and his work team have been promoting have earned him the Icon 2022 award with VOLVO.
These are just two of the many chefs that exist in the region who daily try to innovate in the industry, not only from the food used to cook, but also to transform the environment that surrounds them through empowerment and collective work. Both Manu and Rafael are the faithful example that food goes beyond a plate and can transform lives.