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In Uruguay, Diego Ruete combines food and innovation in the same plate

Rafael Bahia

Gustavo Rivera, Renné Castrucci

In Montevideo, an educator wants to reconnect people with nutrition – starting with children

Diego Ruete created his own profession. The Uruguayan defines himself as an 'educook,' a term he coined while running Petit Gourmet. Located in the neighborhood of Pocitos, the house welcomes kids to its garden and around the table so they can learn by cooking and (why not?) playing.

 

A former high school teacher, Ruete took an interest in culinary arts, went to Europe to study, and spent time working in such restaurants as Los Negros, owned by Argentine chef Francis Mallmann, inside the Conrad Resort and Casino in Punta del Este. Back in Montevideo, he proposed that the school where he taught create a garden. An idea germinated. One day, he took a group of kids to his house to cook, and this is how he gave his first lesson in what would become the project Educocina.

 

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'We teach respect for the earth, for water, for our own bodies and those of others,' he explains. 'Always in a playful and cooperative manner. It's an example of experimentation and fun.' Armed with pots, pans, and spoons, he works to connect children with food and fight obesity – he even acted as a representative of Jamie Oliver's healthy food movement known as Food Revolution, and runs an initiative to create community gardens in Montevideo.

 

Today, in addition to private schools, he also frequents public schools in critical conditions with a group of volunteers. And they teach students that cooking is also math, chemistry, history, and geography. His intention is for kids to get their families to catch on, so that they not only share the same table, but also a new awareness.

 

Ruete’s Montevideo

For lunch

Café Jacinto in Ciudad Vieja. The chef there, Lucía Soria, and I used to work together at Francis Mallmann's restaurant. The food is guaranteed delicious.”Jacinto: Calle Sarandí, 349

 

An activity

“Go for a bike ride from Ciudad Vieja to Punta Gorda. This route takes in the most beautiful view of the city: the rambla with Rio de la Plata in an old-fashioned setting, the city center, and a modern one, in Pocitos and Punta Carretas.”

 

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For dinner

“Go to the restaurant FOC in Punta Carretas and try the tasting menu by Martín Lavecchia, one of the most audacious chefs in local cuisine.”

FOC: Calle Ramón Fernández, 285

 

Insider's tip

La Esquina del Mundo in Pocitos is a small space that's full of culture – part bistro, part gallery. The bar Fun Fun in the city center has live tango.” 

La Esquina del Mundo: Calle 2 de Mayo, 1551
Fun Fun: Calle Soriano, 922