In the year 2010, the Mexican gastronomy was declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the United Nations Organization for Education, Science, and Culture (UNESCO). Thanks to this, it was exalted that the kitchen in Mexico is considered a crucial element of national identity, due to its history, creativity, diversity, and transcendence.
One of the people who made this recognition possible is Gloria López Morales, writer, journalist and Mexican diplomat, as well as founder and president of the Conservatory of Mexican Gastronomic Culture (UNESCO consultative body).
Gloria has dedicated the last two decades of her life to the rescue, safeguarding, and promotion of traditional Mexican food as one of the most outstanding expressions of the country’s Cultural Heritage. Forbes Life spoke with Gloria about this effort made for the worldwide recognition of this important part of the national culture and in an interview, the diplomat stressed the importance of taking care of the Mexican culinary roots that they gave and have fed the Mexicans for so long.
The road that led us to success
At Forbes Life, we had the opportunity to share a few moments with Gloria, in which she told us a little about her conception of Mexican gastronomy, her appointment as a World Heritage Site and gastronomic tourism in Mexico.
UNESCO has a large number of international conventions that are responsible for rescuing, safeguarding and protecting the diverse heritage of humanity. In 2004, a first attempt was made to introduce Mexican gastronomy to one of these conventions, but it was not achieved. It was until 2010 that it came into consideration and, after elaborating an exhaustive Candidature File and an intense analysis, the objective was achieved successfully and Mexican cuisine became an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
According to what was said by Gloria López, Mexican gastronomy was considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since it demonstrates a certain antiquity and historical continuity, it also enjoys an important role as an identity element for the Mexican people, it is collectively elaborated, It supports products native to its land and boasts great creativity in its chefs, who have been perfecting this gastronomy over the centuries. “It is a very healthy diet, balanced and healthy, that for millennia fed the Mexican people,” explains the expert.
In addition to all this, Gloria commented that there may be other very good cuisines in the world, but that they do not meet the aforementioned characteristics. And it is that Mexican cuisine, besides being all that, also combines contemporary techniques that give it the character of innovation and constant adaptation. Thanks to this, it has managed to preserve itself and remains for several generations.
“I feel great personal satisfaction but this work is not mine, it is collective. We reached an extraordinary goal, we believe that the inscription of Mexican food in UNESCO marked a precedent never seen, that a national cuisine is inscribed in that list, “said Gloria.
“Within the integrality of the challenges facing Mexican gastronomy today there are several flanks: the environment, changes in agricultural patterns for the production of food, the invasion of exogenous foods that come to break the balance of the traditional diet, obviously also the transnational trade issues that make us import a lot of our products and receive in exchange others that are not the best for the Mexican’s diet, “the expert replied, questioning her about the main challenges faces Mexican cuisine.
As for gastronomic tourism in our country, this is the second element that generates the most economic impact on tourism in Mexico. “The gastronomic heritage, the Mexican cuisine, the regional and local cuisines have become one of the most powerful attractions for internal and external tourism. People move in search of new flavors, original flavors. Tourism has evolved a lot and right now the concept of gastronomic destinations is very important. It is a fact that people look for museums, historical centers and beaches, but also look for where to eat tasty and well. In that sense, Mexican cuisine is an unparalleled attraction, “added Gloria.
According to what the expert said, many culinary destinations in Mexico are recognized because they have been in charge of promoting themselves and making known their benefits; being these states Oaxaca, Puebla or Yucatan. But now, there are many other important destinations in the country that are manifesting themselves as crucial members, something that they did not do before, and that they have a lot to offer; like Nayarit, Colima, Chiapas or Mexico City.
“In our country society is mobilizing quite efficiently to realize the benefits of Mexican cuisine and the Mexican diet and defend it with teeth and nails. I believe that chefs and diners are paying much more attention to the need to put Mexican cuisine on high, without underestimating other cuisines in the world. But what we have to do is promote our own and with that we can move a whole chain that goes from sowing the food to exporting it, passing through the good Mexican table, “he concluded.
The food that has conquered the world
During the 4th World Forum of Mexican Gastronomy, held in 2016, various international and national icons of gastronomy shared their perceptions about the culinary field, its potentials, and deficiencies, as well as its derivatives, contrasts and immense diversity.
Tom Parker Bowles, writer, critic and English food enthusiast, opened the forum with a keynote address: “Boom in gastronomy: challenges and promises”. Tom shared with the audience his inexhaustible passion for Mexican food, he declared himself to be completely in love with it and Mexico.
“The most exciting, vibrant, captivating and seductive food that exists on Earth,” Parker Bowles refers to food in Mexico. “It is the food that has conquered the world, not only with its dishes but with the passion, creativity, warmth, and love of life that its creators print in them”.
Likewise, Tom acknowledged that Mexico has suffered, and still suffers, from a bad reputation internationally. He said that he conceives Mexico as one of the most diverse, beautiful and kind countries in the world; his people, his lands, his love. He also confessed the courage he feels when he hears that people are afraid of Mexico and that he even gets upset at these comments. “It is a pure, generous and hospitable land; anyone who loves this country is able to see beyond the problems, “said the expert.
By Elena Fernández