Class of 2021
Chef Marsia Taha has been relentless in her mission to find creative ways to elevate local ingredients and culinary traditions in Bolivia, a country where ancestral gastronomic culture is still undervalued. Born in Bulgaria and raised in Bolivia, she started working at Gustu in La Paz in 2013. Created by Danish restaurateur Claus Meyer, Gustu is a restaurant and school that trains underprivileged youths in the cooking arts and aims to make Bolivian gastronomy an engine of national socio-economic development. Marsia quickly rose through the ranks, going from kitchen assistant to head chef within a few years and becoming one of the few Bolivian women working in such a position at a top restaurant.
The young cook is also the founder of Sabores Silvestres, a multidisciplinary group formed of chefs, biologists, ethnobotanists, agronomists and scientists who seek to research, understand and preserve Bolivian products and food heritage. Travelling to remote regions in the Amazon, the Andes and the Altiplano, Marsia and the members of Sabores Silvestres create new sustainable livelihoods for rural communities, cooperatives and the indigenous peoples of Bolivia by disseminating knowledge about their unique food products and cultures. They share their knowledge of Bolivia’s biodiversity and the ethnographic significance of its recipes through an interactive, open-access multimedia platform.
“My mission as a cook is to put my country on the world gastronomy map – to bring Bolivia to the world.” – Marsia Taha