Carmen Chamorro 

Gastronomy, born in the midst of war, unites frontiers

Carmen Chamorro

Gastronomy, born in the midst of war, unites frontiers

The former Director of Tourism of Mexico in Spain and Portugal (diplomatic mission from 2000 to 2003), Deputy Minister of Tourism in Mexico in the government of President Calderon, and Secretary of Tourism of the state of Guanajuato (considered "of the highest distinction" in world tourism), has announced to this correspondent the existence of the phenomenon of international tourism movement through the table, which invites us to create a space for conversation to deliberate and reach agreements. 

In this situation of a convulsive world, the kitchen and the stoves gain strength, which invite us to sit around a table of dialogue. "A rhetoric to evaluate at this time". "Sharing a table, destined to the effect (eating in company), would soften the acrimony in international conflicts".  

In this way, Olivera Rocha responded to the question raised by this correspondent on the close relationship between the kitchen stoves and long war campaigns. The VII World Tapas Championship in the city of Valladolid brought together 16 chefs from all over the world, with India as the guest country and France as the observer country, with Mexico standing out for its originality.

Fernando Olivera Rocha

For Fernando Olivera Rocha, who has served in the Federal Government as Undersecretary of Tourism Operations and General Director of Tourism Product Development and Tourism Culture, this phenomenon could be viewed from two perspectives. One, the growth of gastronomic tourism at the international level, where one out of every four tourists travels for the sake of eating, given that the enjoyment of the palate generates bridges and intercultural ties. And the other perspective, based on the conception of an interconnected world through gastronomic reciprocity, with stories of dishes in the midst of an armed conflict and in which today, could slow down the shipment of products. 

Maintaining the harmony that is generated between cultures may not prevent a war, but it can help the parties to a conflict to sit around a table and discuss with calmer tempers. The importance of the agri-food sector at an international level has allowed this model of the Valladolid contest to be exported to countries such as Mexico, where the first edition of the National Tapas Contest has been held in the city of Querétano. 

In the same vein, Olivera Rocha, currently in charge of external consulting for several Mexican states, such as Querétaro, has turned his commitment and enthusiasm into a positive impact on the global tourism industry.

Certainly, conflicts could generate greater tension at airports in the strict supervision, running the risk that the products do not cross, that is, that the exchange between countries would be affected in the export and import of ingredients, and therefore limit the opportunity to transfer economically and socially. 

"In our case, fortunately, we were able to bring all the ingredients, with which Mexico participated in the Valladolid World Championship: nixtamalized creole corn, wild mushrooms, beef tongue, green tomatillo sauce with xoconostle and escamoles (ant roe), along with cilantro sprouts." 

Olivera Rocha also pointed out that armed conflicts have given rise to the most unique culinary preparations throughout history, so that in order to supply troops in conflict, the cuisine has to be practical and high in proteins, carbohydrates and vitamins, and can be eaten quickly.

He also wanted to dedicate a few words to his country, Mexico, which has been working intensely for the last ten years to promote the tapa, "a tiny culinary invention that turns passion into an art and a fusion between legend and innovation", and to David Quevedo, winner of the 2021 World Championship, who coordinated a program of the Guanajuato Ministry of Tourism with 230 traditional cooks from different Otomí and Chichimeca villages. Mesquite prickly pear cactus, yucca, agave, seeds and roots contributed to Quevedo's love of cooking. 

Chef David Quevedo absorbed the knowledge of central Mexican cuisine to bring the winning tapa (the catrina, holding a ceremonial taco) to Spain in 2021. Aztec figure Mictecacihuatl, the goddess of death), "which has to do with the Mexican's attachment to the beginning and end of life and with the Otomí tradition of family seal that passes from generation to generation," said Olivera Rocha.

Fernando Olivera Rocha

Kapoor Sanjeev

Kapoor Sanjeev, India's top chef, bets on gastronomic diplomacy

After interviewing this high personality of International Tourism, the correspondent, Carmen Chamorro has been able to hold a meeting with the best and emblematic Chef of Indian cuisine, Kapoor Sanjeev, who has exalted the prominent role played by world events of this type, "because it helps to improve relations between countries". The United Nations (UN) chose him as India's ambassador for its Clean Cookstoves campaign.

The culinary offerings, as well as religion, culture and race, are symbols of the union of peoples. Gastronomy, science and art, studies the relationship between food and the environment and is a link between peoples. The collaboration around a table has repercussions on the good relations between nations. This philanthropic chef, recognized by his government as the best chef in all of India, has an association whose meal program serves lunches to more than 2.3 million school children in Indian states.

In a message to the world citizenry, as a chef of great diplomatic influence, Kapoor Sanjeev, in an emotional tone, has evoked the situation as a child who suffered in the midst of a convulsed India, for which he has urged governments to adopt other measures than the exodus of refugees. "It breaks my heart to banish images of my parents, suffering this same conjuncture": the displacements of civil society from their homes."

For Kapoor Sanjeev, given the existence of elements that are helping to break the world, art helps to smooth out the rough edges. Cooking affects the five senses, thus bringing human beings closer together. 

The culinary preparations in combat zones count, on the one hand, with the support of chefs like José Andrés with his foundation World Central Kitchen, who provides and supplies food to the citizens, victims of the conflicts and on the other hand, like Kapoor Sanjeev, who has maintained that he collaborates in the post-conflict to the prompt recovery, through the exploitation of agricultural resources, source of food of these countries at war. "To return to the economy that sustains them is the way to help them through the organizations that I represent".

Finally, Sanjeev wanted to make it clear that the resolution of a conflict must be peaceful. "Aggression leads to more aggression".

Author: Carmen Chamorro García

Directive of the CIP/ACPE and graduate in International Relations from the SEI.

The authors are responsible for the choice and presentation of the facts contained in this document and for the opinions expressed therein, which are not necessarily those of Tourism and Society Think Tank and do not commit the Organization, and should not be attributed to TSTT or its members.

This site uses cookies from Google to deliver its services and to analyze traffic. Information about your use of this site is shared with Google. By using this site, you agree to its use of cookies.