Our quest to discover the authentic food in a region has been a strategic effort made up of three parts. The first part involves researching the local foods in a particular region. The second part is much more interactive and involves getting to know locals who can then share with us the local foods and spots to find authentic foods. The final part involves, speaking with local experts and artisans who can share with us their unique insights and cultural significance about what is local in the region and what is not be missed.
In today’s post, we are thrilled to share with you our interview with Antigourmet, a local popular group in Buenos Aires is building a movement around a return to simple and traditional dishes. Representing the Antigourmet team, we had the privilege of meeting with Juan Pablo, the foreign relations representative of the group at Bar Seddon in San Telmo.
The search for simple and authentic foods as well as a return to the traditional meals has taken hold of Argentina and is embodied in the term bodegón. One of the big names in Buenos Aires around this topic are Peitro Sorba, journalist and acclaimed food critic who has written extensively about Bodegónes in his book Bodegones of Buenos Aires.
On the other side, you have Antigourmet, who represent the masses. Neither chefs nor experts in the food industry, they are simply a group of friends who enjoy eating and are passionate about traditional home-cooked type meals.
Who Is Antigourmet?
Antigourmet started out about on 12 June 2014 by a bunch of male friends who would meet once a week after work to play basketball. Hungry and thirsty after playing, the question was always “where do we eat?.” Drawn to the dishes from their childhoods and traditional meals cooked by their mothers and grandmothers, they began to seek out restaurants that served home cooked meals or bodegónes.
A negative experience at a restaurant by Mathias, one of the five friends, transformed the weekly dinners to a platform to share their opinions and experiences at restaurants.
What started out as a website that reviewed the food and experiences at different bodegóns, has since evolved to a storytelling platform. Their focus today is around the story of the restaurants, the founders and the generations of people that have been entrusted with upholding family recipes and passing on family traditions. Food takes on a lesser focus and the writing is centered on the entire experience, from the feelings they each have when they walk into the restaurant, to the meal and experience around the food and finally the connection and stories about the owners and the history of the place.
To be clear, Antigourmet are not sponsored and they give their own honest opinions. They work hard to maintain their integrity, paying for each of their meals despite protests from owners who might insist on comping their meals. In addition, Antigourmet takes pride in not being food critics, which means that they only write about the places they enjoy.
What Inspired The Name Antigourmet?
Below is a short clip the details the origins of the name and what it attempts to communicate. Enjoy.
Why Is Antigourmet Noteworthy?
In less than 2 years, Antigourmet has taken Buenos Aires by storm. Posting regularly on their website, Antigourmet has become a massive influencers where they recommend and highlight their favorite bodegónes while encouraging their fans and followers to check them out and form their own opinions. So far they have visited over 100 bodegónes and reviewed over 40. Check out the places they have reviewed on their site.
With over 20K followers on their facebook page, a radio station and numerous interviews with the press, they have become a respectable voice. Built on trust and honesty, they don’t claim to have a monopoly on the truth, but rather hungry appetites and honest opinions to share. Ultimately, their goal is to feature the bodegónes, celebrate them and while promoting traditional cooking and the people behind the food.
What is a Bodegón?
Difficult to succinctly explain, Bodegónes are aimed at bringing back the values of homemade food. See below as Juan Pablo describes what it is from the perspective of Antigourmet.
What’s The Connection With Authentic Food Quest?
The desire to preserve heritage while highlighting traditional and authentic foods is the common ground we share and the impetus for meeting with other like minded individuals. Building a global movement on taste, authenticity and good food for all is an admirable goal to aspire towards. In our Authentic Food Quest charter that you can download here, we call for awakening our taste buds through the discovery of new ingredients and flavors often encountered while traveling. We advocate what is local and authentic, what is seasonal and we also pay hommage to the artisans and producers bring us these wonderful flavors. We invite people to eat purposefully and intentionally, allowing food to open us up to new experiences.
Antigourmet goes at it from a slightly different perspective. Focused on keeping bodegónes alive, they challenge the conveniences brought about by the busyness of daily living, where people forget the origins and taste of good food. By valorizing local restaurant owners and bodegónes, they aim to keep the dishes and traditions of our grandmothers alive.
One thing that is clear, is that we celebrate good food. We share a desire to move away from the bland, to remember what the raw ingredients taste like and to awaken the taste buds.
Savor The Adventure!
Rosemary is a writer, culinary explorer, and digital nomad. Together with her partner, Claire, they created Authentic Food Quest to help people find the best local food on their travels. For over 5 years they have eaten their way through South America, Southeast Asia, Europe, and North America while sharing the best local food experiences on their website. Authentic Food Quest has been featured on top publications such as Huffington Post, Business Insider, and Honest Cooking. Rosemary and Claire are also authors of Authentic Food Quest Argentina and Authentic Food Quest Peru, available on Amazon. Prior to creating Authentic Food Quest, Rosemary worked as a strategy director in advertising for over 15 years.