In March 2017 I flew out to Ecuador to spend some time with Rodrigo Pacheco. His food is a marriage of his training as a Paul Bocuse graduate and the incredible variety of eco-systems that his restaurant, Bocavaldivia, is situated between.
Sat on Ecuador's Pacific coast, are some of the richest seas on Earth. To the north lie rock-pools, to the south mangroves, to the east a farm and even further the cloud forests and eventually the Amazonas.
Because of this diversity, the restaurant has embraced a constant state of flux. There are no morning runs to the grocers and butchers to find out what has come in. Instead, every morning Rodrigo and the rest of the staff head out to fish, water fields of tomatillo, pick dragon fruit, collect cassava or make the longest journey of all to gather cacao from the cloud mountains.
When you are as isolated from the rest of the world as Rodrigo is, you teach yourself to see more of the opportunities around you. For me, this was most apparent when we went to the Food Jungle. The Food Jungle is Rodrigo's idea of an allotment, a cultivated plot of land within the jungle just a few minute bike ride from the restaurant. When we were there, we took a moment to rehydrate. Our zero-tolerance policy on plastics and scarce water made us turn to mother nature in unexpected ways. I was then presented with a delicious passion-fruit juice with smashed lemongrass and a papaya stem straw.
Spending time with Rodrigo made me question a lot about what I do as a photographer. We are over saturated with pictures of plates of food where the finished dishes are meant to carry the story of what came before.
Well, I'm finishing this post with an unfinished dish, in fact, nothing bellow was edible when I took this photo, but once Rodrigo worked his magic, it was fucking delicious.