By Tom Tanner, Sustainable Restaurant Association
The clue is in the name. The winner of the Sustainable Restaurant Award at Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants, sponsored by Flor de Caña, is all about the provenance.
For those non-Spanish speakers, Diacá, literally means, from here. And at this pioneering Guatemalan restaurant, where the ingredients come from, who’s produced them, and how, are paramount. Chef Debora Fadul’s Guatemala City restaurant is a homage to the country’s rich larder.
A traditional menu is replaced by detailed information about the farmers and producers – including their names and addresses – the hope being that by championing these food heroes they’ll encourage customers to buy from them too. Such is Debora’s dedication to these men and women of the land, she spent the pandemic creating a digital database – just one of three non-profit projects she’s founded to boost consumer knowledge about the origins of Guatemala produce.
While the geography is important, Debora and her team are driven equally strongly by a commitment to ensure they keep their environmental footprint to an absolute minimum. This is exemplified in the 75% vegetarian menu. Plants take centre stage on the plate and all meat that is served at Diacá comes from regenerative farms. The search for the perfect feta supplier only ended when they found one using 100% renewable energy. This is typical of the painstaking work that goes into identifying those farms and farmers that work with the community and the environment at the heart of everything they do. Staff from Diacá’s team play a key part in this process and are encouraged to spend time visiting the farms and getting to know the producers.
Diacá’s win comes on the back last year’s success for Borago at The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Rodolfo Guzman’s restaurant was rewarded for his dedication to farmers, foragers and fishers of his nation – Chile. Like Debora, his menu only includes native ingredients.
Less than a year on from Borago’s success in this category at The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, Diacá’s win is excellent evidence of a movement in Latin America to give ‘local’ food the recognition it deserves – in a luxury setting, creating the cultural connection between the land and the plate, the farmer and the diner.
This award follows Debora’s success in being nominated as Latin America’s Rising Star Female Chef in 2021. We look forward to discovering even more examples of chefs at the highest level, like Rodolfo and Debora, linking producers with consumers in the most delicious way possible, because that is truly food made good. A decade into our relationship with The World’s 50 Best and what seemed more like hidden gems are now become more obviously like the norm.
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