Ferran Adria, Gaston Acurio and Peru Sabe -- a Food Revolution

Jordana Stolow, Ferran Adria, Julee Resendez, and Gaston Acurio
I went to a spectacular food and wine event held at the United Nations last night.  It was so different and invigorating and thought provoking and maybe it even made you angry, but then you smiled because you  kept things in perspective and said "where the f*#k am I?  I'm watching a documentary in the U.N. -- about food, about Peru, about social change . . . . and I'm staring at Ferran Adria . . . and I didn't even know who this Gaston Acurio was but I like what he has done for his country, Peru."
Because after watching the documentary we all had something to say -- and when it boiled down to "what you got to say?"  We were all really thinking inside (at least I was) "How can I say anything -- what have I done to help stimulate social change?" 
There was delicious ceviche and Pisco Sours never-ending all night
Perhaps, it's one of those "you had to be there moments," but at least everyone I bumped into was all riled up after watching the film. The documentary was not about the revolution of food a la Ferran style or about all the crazy shit he's done, or will do, or can do with food.  It was about a revolution with food and how Gaston Acurio had built a culinary school on this beach/sand oasis in the middle of Lima, Peru and how the food/celebrity chef culture that has been blowing up around the world is being introduced to the youth in Peru and giving them hope for -- (and this was the question we all wanted answers to????) -- Giving them hope for what?  A better life?  Where did 80,000 young adults go for jobs after three years of culinary school?  If a chefs life here in NYC is one of the hardest and lowest paid salaries in the restaurant business what could it possibly be like in Peru?  Do you know how many people I know who went to the CIA here in the US and changed careers etc. etc.  But this, I do not think, is the whole point -- to get upset at the unfixed outcome of celebrity chefs trying to stimulate social and global change in not only Peruvian culture but even potentially on a global scale is not necessarily something to be annoyed at.  
In the video we witnessed the difficult lives these Peruvian kids had/have. We laughed that the texture of their soups they made in school were grossly too thick.  We sat back and dreamed about trying all the different fruits and fresh fish from their Peruvian market . . . and yes we felt hope too . . . . that at least attention is being brought to the subject of Peru and its vast resources.  At least Ferran Adria and Gaston Acurio, two very successful chefs are out there trying to do something to help children who would dream to have the opportunity to be anywhere near as successful as they are.  
Peru Sabe event at the United Nations

I applaud them.  Ferran Adria is an enormous international role model and this world needs as many famous people possible making the effort to get involved in the community and to make it contagious and cool to be involved in social change.  We can make this world better, we just need the world to feel like it's important.  
And the edge children have over age is that they believe anything is possible.  You could see how much hope this school gave them -- and perhaps that hope alone will give them the support and strength they need to overcome the hardships they will encounter and are already enduring.  
Our paradigm can be our steel doors or our yellow brick road.  Sometimes all you need is someone to believe in you -- we've witnessed these stories before.  
There was one scene with Ferran that I will take with me forever.  He was inside the school with all the students huddling around him and he asked something like, "what is the best potato to use for mashing?"  Everyone buzzed around him and then gave an answer -- like me, I would have said something like Idaho, or yukon gold, like I know, but these were the thoughts that came to mind.
"No!" he said.  "Your answer should be that you have not yet discovered the best potato for mashing."
And believe me, coming from Ferran's mouth, when you hear that, you feel complete awe.

Jordana NicoleComment