Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

16 October 2022

World Food Day

Rodrigo Pacheco

“We obtained these beautiful products from the street market where we support the work and agriculture of Indigenous women – who continue to provide food despite the hardships they face.”
29/09/2022

Ecuador

Rodrigo Pacheco is a world-renowned Ecuadorian chef known for much more than his delicious recipes. This food hero is also cooking up a storm in the name of agrifood sustainability.  

Working with nature is key for Rodrigo. His vision for sustainable food and agriculture focuses on integrating the biodiversity that surrounds him, from the northwest forests of Quito and Guayaquil to the coastal city of Esmeraldas, into the life of his kitchens. Rodrigo’s “Bocavaldivia” project, for example, focuses on reconnecting fragmented ecosystems through agroforestry, sustainable tourism and regenerative gastronomy. He is developing a “biodiversity corridor” that runs from the Pacific Coast to the Andean Choco, traversing five distinct ecosystems and microclimates. Here Rodrigo grows and forages for the food he serves customers in the restaurant, telling the story of Ecuador, its biodiversity, people and traditions through his local, seasonal dishes. 

Rodrigo hopes this will inspire visitors to appreciate the large variety of goods nature affords us all, and to recognise the value of protecting it. 

Nominated an FAO Goodwill Ambassador for the International Year of Plant Health in 2020, Rodrigo is passionate about the importance of regenerative gastronomy and the urgent need to restore our world’s varied ecosystems. 

“Plants are like my family. Cultivating a strong relationship with them and working hand in hand with nature has become my way of life. We must educate the world to love and respect the flora around us.” said Pacheco who continues to advocate for plant health, biodiversity and the urgent restoration of natural ecosystems.   

In fact, protecting local biodiversity, promoting Indigenous traditions and harnessing sustainable practices are three important ingredients fueling his latest venture – “Foresta”.  

This new restaurant in Quito celebrates the ancestral culinary knowledge and traditions of Ecuador with food that is produced and cultivated by a community of local Indigenous women. Every Friday, Rodrigo sources fresh ingredients from their market including the local variety of chirimoya, taxo – also known as passion fruit, avocados, corn, free-range eggs, garlic, and more. 

“Our ancestral traditions have been of great inspiration and guidance. […] It is our duty to hear and amplify indigenous communities’ voices and messages”. 

Rodrigo believes that restoring the health of our ecosystems, climate action and support for indigenous communities, all starts with our food choices. We can all make a difference.