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LISTEN: Alex Atala on the Balance Between Helping and Harming Amazonian Locals


And now he’s on NPR: this morning, Brazilian chef Alex Atala was introduced to the public radio-listening elite of the world in an All Things Considered segment that charted his accidental fall into the cooking world, and his rise to its summits. (We’re calling it now: in a few years, Alex Atala is going to be Super Famous in the US and have some sort of Media Presence.)

But before that happens, this part — about how Atala felt torn between assisting the residents of the Amazon rainforest, where he sources his food, at the cost of destroying their way of life — stood out for us:

He sent food to the locals, but the plastic wrappings around the food ended up everywhere as litter. And the kinds of food the locals ate changed.

“Even if my intention was pure and beautiful,” Atala reflects, “what I was doing at the end of the day was damaging.”

And that’s when Atala started thinking about the deeper impact of his art and calling.

“Behind every dish there is death,” he says. “It is not a comfortable way to understand the food chain, but it is a way to provoke reflection.”

You can listen to the rest of the interview below, and think about death.

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