Argentinean-born Mauro Colagreco opened Mirazur restaurant in 2006 (3 Michelin stars, ranked No. 3 in the 50 Best). This committed cook has never forgotten where he came from. "Origenes" is his pet project. He tells us more about it in the first interview our "60 seconds for a better world" series.
"Origenes project has been developed with two friends, both - like me - are from Latin America: Virgilio Martinez from Peru and Jorge Vallejo from Mexico”, explains Mauro Colagreco. “We share the same idea - or perhaps vision - of the need to protect our origins.”
The three chefs began by going back to the land. In Peru, they saw at first hand the dramatic changes in the country’s traditional way of life. “We went out into the fields and heard about Milpa, the Mayan three-crop growing system”, recalls Mauro. “Man needs only three crops to survive: maize, squash and beans.” In the traditional system, alternating these crops in rotation allowed the soil to regenerate. Today, the soils are exhausted, and forests are being felled to create new plots. The three chefs immediately grasped why when they discovered local peasant farmers with sacks of GM maize. “It was really sad to see these people, who don’t always have access to clean drinking water, in the process of destroying their own land with seeds bought from huge multinationals,” laments Mauro.
To protect this land and its produce, give these people back a sense of pride in their work, convince young people to carry on rather than lose themselves in a hypothetical urban future, Mauro, Virgilio and Jorge want to go beyond simply observing the problem. Their aim is to change the course of events by reintroducing this produce to restaurant tables and launching multiple social, economic and technological initiatives. It’s not yet too late.