Congreso Internacional de mujeres gastronomía y medio rural


Manu Buffara, Fatmata Binta, Cristina Bowerman and Najat Kaanache to speak at FéminAs in Asturias


The second International Congress of Gastronomy, Women and the Rural Milieu, FéminAs, will again be paying homage to women from the world of cooking between 16 and 18 May, at an event with a markedly international presence. 

At least a dozen speakers from Latin America and Africa will be visiting southwest Asturias to share their experiences, held as genuine references of sustainable cuisine.

This second round of the congress will be bringing together an impressive line-up of international speakers, among which Brazilian Manu Buffara. The chef at Restaurante Manu (Curitiba) is one of Latin American gastronomy's leading personalities, and also an activist committed to her environment, who has succeeded in rescuing traditional crop-growing methods, inculcating sustainable fishing, hunting and horticulture techniques, encouraging nutritional practices and waste control, and protecting biodiversity in a constant educational drive. 

FéminAs will also play host to one of the big winners at the last round of The Best Chef in Amsterdam: Fatmata Binta (Fulani Test Kitchen, Accra, Ghana). Born and raised in Freetown, Sierra Leone, the nomad chef fills her recipes with the tradition of the Fulani, the world's largest nomadic tribe of herders all around West Africa, numbering more than 20 million. Binta argues that food is the language that breaks down barriers as a universal connector, and that much can be learned from observation of the customs and culture of our ancestors. 

Another leading personality at this second round is Peruvian Mónica Huerta (La Nueva Palomino restaurant, Arequipa), a member of the "Sociedad Picantera de Arequipa", an organisation that has turned its cooking into the image of tradition and resilience at impressive popular eateries which define the nature of Arequipa cuisine. They arose in a struggle from humbleness and scant resources, and learned to move forward to make a difference in Peru's culinary landscape. In fact, it is simply because they have turned the Arequipa "picantería" into a singular expression of Peru's cooking culture that they will be collecting the ‘2nd Guardians of Tradition Award’.

Another of the world's leading chefs will be present at FéminAs 2022: Najat Kaanache (Nur restaurant, Fez), the immense ambassador of Moroccan gastronomy who runs Africa's best restaurant. Through hard work and sacrifice, Kaanache has made the list of the world's most acclaimed chefs with her hybrid-fusion cookery.

Other guests at FéminAs include Portuguese chef Noélia Jerónimo (Restaurante Noélia & Jerónimo, Cabanas de Tavira, Portugal), a genuine ambassador of Mediterranean Portuguese gastronomy in the Algarve; one of the most active and larger-than-life Italian chefs, Cristina Bowerman, the only woman in Rome with a Michelin star at Glass Hostaria*, where she also holds a green star for food sustainability, a commitment that last year brought her to the World Economic Forum in Davos. Carito Lourenço, the first Argentinian chef to notch up a Michelin star alongside husband Germán Carrizo, with whom she co-manages the Fierro restaurant in Valencia, and Ecuadorean chef Carolina Sánchez (Íkaro*, La Rioja), the first woman from Ecuador to earn a Michelin star in 2019 and also a member of the Ecuador MasterChef jury panel, have also been confirmed as speakers at the event.

Some of the leading "guisandera" stewmistresses of southwest Asturias, such as Mayte Álvarez and Blanca Menéndez from Casa Lula or Ángela Pérez from Casa Emburria, will have the chance to cook alongside some of these international personalities at their own restaurants, serving up original six-hand and eight-hand lunches and dinners.

Gastronomy, women and new rurality

The objective of FéminAs, organised by Vocento's Gastronomy Division and promoted by the Subdepartment of Tourism, is to support activities that help showcase women in catering and the primary sector, along with social awareness to defend sustainability and rural communities.

The second round of the congress - which will also feature national personalities such as Carme Ruscalleda, Elena Arzak and Fina Puigdevall - will embark on a journey of part of southwest Asturias, a territory which also contains many examples of this task of protecting the culture of gastronomy, a task carried through thanks to the determination and capacity of women in Asturias running their own restaurants. This time the main congress venue will be the Parador de Corias hotel in Cangas del Narcea. FéminAs will also be out and about at some locations around Tineo and Allande as part of its schedule of activities. 

The congress will be open to the public until capacity has been completed for the Monday and Tuesday sessions, but it can also be viewed on the portal

Landscape Cookery

Integration of the surroundings, gastronomic produce and culinary talent in a single identity is the competitive edge of the slogan ‘Landscape Cookery’ used to promote Asturias as part of its plan to take up a position as a gastronomy destination. Support for FéminAs and attendance of specialist events such as Madrid Fusión and Alimentaria are just a few of the activities in the plan, launched by the Subdepartment of Tourism in autumn 2021.