Recently we were invited to have drinks at a restaurant fairly new to La Paz. Gustu has a modernized version of the rustic wood esthetic seen in much of S. America and that carries through to its cuisine. The dishes that we tried used the same ingredients that we had become familiar with in S. Peru and Bolivia, namely many varied types of potatoe, corn, aji (a type of pepper,) and llama. This being said they looked a tasted nothing like what we had become used to eating.
The restaurant is the largest project of Melting Pot Bolivia and by extension the greater Melting Pot organization started by Claus Meyer of Noma fame. The ideal here is clearly quite similar to that of Noma; namely using local ingredients in new and inventive ways as well as acting to further the "cause of food" for the whole region. To this end Gustu acts as a school in equal parts to its role as a restaurant, with many of its employees being students learning about about all facets of restaurateuring as well as taking language courses. This is less a restaurant than a breeding ground for food evangelists ready to go forth and convert the whole world. After eating we had the opportunity to have a short tour around the property and the whole time I found myself wishing that something like this existed when I started working in restaurants.
Follow the link for pictures of the restaurant and some of our dishes.