José Carlos de Santiago Presents the Ecuadorian Gastronomy Academy on National Television

José Carlos de Santiago Presents the Ecuadorian Gastronomy Academy on National Television

José Carlos de Santiago, Vice President of the Ibero-American Academy of Gastronomy (AIBG) and President of the Excellence Group presented this August 14 in Ecuadorian news to the Academy of Gastronomy of Ecuador (AGE).

In the interview, José Carlos de Santiago explained that the AGE, subscribed to the AIBG, is not only responsible for the research and dissemination of Ecuadorian gastronomy, but also, has as added value, as one of its fundamental missions, to offer criteria and share knowledge for the development of Ecuadorian anthropological cuisine and also for its modernization.

In this sense, he explained that an "absolutely objective" assessment of restaurants, chefs or cooks, which must also be rated and classified by an international cooking body, is being made have the endorsement of the national side.

Mr. De Santiago emphasized the importance of gastronomy for the development of tourism in Ecuador and the role played by the Academy, which also "arises to provide these guidelines that help the nation to position itself with a rich gastronomy and that when a tourist comes from the outside or for one from within the country, he can directly understand that gastronomy is the most important thing". He emphasized the fact that when a person visits a destination, regardless of the appeal they choose to know, "what is certain to be done is to eat and will do so at least three times a day."

About the members of AGE, he explained that they are mostly academics, people who, because of their political -social impact, by their technical and culinary knowledge, can set out their judgment, are able to give their objective opinion, about the food they are tasting or the service they are receiving. Precisely, for this reason, they are not part of the Academy or chefs, nor restaurant owners, "you can't be a judge and part of it."

The AIBG Vice-Chair commented that Ecuador's Academy of Gastronomy also plays a formative job because it allows "universities to consult what universities in other countries are doing, what kind of courses are set up and imparts."

Referring to the genesis of the initiative, he expressed that for almost a decade the idea began to be valued and several actions were taken for this purpose. However, Ecuador's Minister of Tourism, Rosi Prado de Holguín, has given the final backing to this project, "she is the one who has endorsed all the actions to create a non-profit foundation. An academy is not a school, it is not a school, it is not a university, only and I repeat, it teaches judgment", he excelled.

On the projects and immediate objectives in which the Academy of Gastronomy of Ecuador will work, he stated that the first is to start disclosing and that for this the AGE will propose, among other activities, the holding of a Gastronomic Seminar.

Secondly, it will focus on valuing a very important product in the country but not everyone knows or uses: casabe. This ancestral bread, based on the Aboriginal diet, is being presented by several countries as an Intangible Heritage of Humanity and will be endorsed by UNESCO.  Ecuador is going to join that protocol and it will do it little by little."

De Santiago did not finish his television intervention without first highlighting Ecuador's strengths in gastronomic matters. "I'd say it's a small country, but it's got it all," he said. "It has the warmth of the Amazon and the cold of the Andes, it has that great culture of the potato that is evidently Andean, but also has the fish, and it makes some ceviches that are spectacular, just like its fritters".

Likewise, he called for the value of Ecuadorian cuisine, especially indigenous cuisine and the use and consumption of the wide variety of products that characterize that nation. "That's what AGE is also for," he concluded.

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