On the World Stage
I first learned of Chef Alex Atala’s work in 2016 when he was featured on Netflix’s, Chef’s Table. His passion for life, food, people and the Amazon was so inspirational that I hoped I could meet him in person one day. I finally had that opportunity last month.
Well, to be honest, I almost met with him last summer. It had taken months to make contact with him, but I learned that a friend and colleague of mine at the Italian Culinary Institute was related to a brilliant Venezuelan scientist, naturalist and adventurer after whom the mad scientist character in the animated movie, Up, was actually modeled! It turns out that Chef Atala had worked with him and his daughter on a project focused on indigenous uses of wild plants.
Through his daughter, I made contact with Alex and eventually set up a meeting with him when I was in Sao Paolo last June while conducting research in South America. This was when massive sections of the Amazon were burning and, just before I arrived, Alex had to fly to the Amazon to help save some of the Amazon and protect the indigenous groups living there. In his absence, we ate at his restaurant Dalva e Dito and then met with his colleague Andrea. It was an incredible meal and a great conversation with Andrea. I left her with some information about my work.
It’s crazy how things work out …
I guess something about my work landed with Alex, because back in the early Fall, he invited me to speak at FRUTO. FRUTO is a platform of engagement and mobilization, whose goal it is to discuss food, today´s problems and challenges concerning it, and to propose solutions for years to come. FRUTO is born of the need to carry a message to the world, a message that man is the greatest link between nature and cuisine, a message for reorganization and resolution of the problems involving the global food system.
One of its initiatives is the seminar FRUTO, an international event held annually in São Paulo, created by chef Alex Atala and the cultural producer Felipe Ribenboim, and supported by the ATÁ Institute. And, it was at this conference that I had the honor of presenting.
The recorded video of the 20 minute presentation is now live and I am excited to share it with you below. In my talk, I break down my research and the implications on our health and diet. This is just what you need to hear to help jump-start or reinforce your own healthy approach to food!
I shared the stage with many incredible visionaries working to transform the food system and our relationship with the world around us. It is worth taking the time to visit the FRUTO website where they are updating on a daily basis the videos of the other speakers (most are in Portuguese or Spanish but have English subtitles). You can also find videos of the presentations from the previous two years of the conference.