“We must be more authentic in the culinary proposal, assessing our culture through history, research, and influences. We are working with the entire team on all of this,” he commented initially.
Proof of all this is more than 30 papers posted on the wall of his office with new dish proposals that highlight the use of local ingredients inspired by various global techniques.
“Panama has incredible culinary potential. These days, I have been understanding and discovering new ingredients typical of the area and the country. In addition, seafood is truly amazing and offers an incredible development field. It is the foundation to start working on our identity and the pride of our cuisine here in Buenaventura,” said Gustavo.
With around 20 years in the culinary world, he left law to dedicate himself to his passion: cooking. He went to the United States to study and begin a career that would take him back to his native Peru.
Inkaterra was his home for the last few years. This luxury hotel chain bases its value on taking advantage of the cultural context – such as Machu Picchu or the Amazon Jungle – to offer its guests sublime experiences. In this case, Borja wants to extend it to all the residents of Buenaventura.
For Borja, “When we travel to a new destination, we hope to live unique and enriching experiences in all aspects. This includes, of course, the food and drinks we tried during our stay. In my experience, I believe that destinations should generate experiences in all aspects, and gastronomy is not an exception.”
The concept behind this is cultural identity, which goes beyond geographical borders. Although our cities are divided by boundaries, we share similar ingredients, colors, and flavors that we use differently due to our different cultural identities.
Hence, each restaurant must have a clearly defined identity and tell its story through its dishes, exploring all the possibilities through ingredients and techniques. “The key is in the team we have today. Each one is giving their best to propose and innovate. And at the same time, I am learning a lot from them and providing them with new knowledge they can integrate into their cooking,” he said.
The conversation extends to other topics, such as the positioning of Peruvian food, Latin and global influences, etc. However, each idea leads us to the same point: we have started a culinary evolution in Buenaventura, and the entire team is committed to transforming it into a gastronomic destination in Panama.