Atlanta chef stands with CARE to eliminate malnutrition in Peru - CBS46 News

Atlanta chef stands with CARE to eliminate malnutrition, hunger in Peru

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Asha Gomez Asha Gomez

There's one thing everyone has in common - the need for food to survive. But not everyone has the same ability to get the sustenance they need. An Atlanta chef hopes to help transform lives and raise awareness of communities struggling around the world through CARE, a nonprofit dedicated to ending global poverty.

Asha Gomez is right at home in the kitchen. She's used to cooking for the masses at her farm-to-table restaurant Cardamom Hill.

"Very regional Indian cuisine, it's very region specific," Gomez said. 

The Executive Chef understands the importance of being sustainable and helping a local economy thrive.

"I know  my pig farmer, I know where my beef is coming from. Essentially you're supporting your small farmers and it has a ripple effect," Gomez said.

It's the same concept Atlanta-based CARE uses to reduce hunger and malnutrition in Peru. That's part of the reason Gomez was interested in being one four chefs on a recent learning tour.

"I came back with a wealth of knowledge," Gomez said.

The well-known chefs, comprised of Gomez, Spike Mendelsohn, Mike Isabella and Victor Albisu, learned about investments in sustainable agriculture, and the country's 3,800 varieties of potatoes.

"It was about connecting the chef with the farmers, the small farmers to come together, take these indigenous ingredients," Gomez said.

Gomez met a recipient of a $100 micro-loan from CARE. With it, the mother bought guinea pigs to feed her family, and to raise and sell at market.

"It has changed their socioeconomic structure dramatically. That particular region had a really high rate of malnutrition among children for lack of protein source but that one ingredient, the guinea pig, high in protein, has brought down malnutrition by 40 percent or 50 percent in that region," Gomez said.

And Gomez has a personal stake for choosing to stand with CARE in its effort to end global poverty.

"I personally come from a third world country. I have seen poverty. I have experienced it, the issue of malnutrition is very dear to my heart. I adopted my son from India when he was 3 years old, he was only 18 pounds. I think as chefs, there's a social consciousness that I think we must have," Gomez said.

To learn more about CARE's work in Peru and around the world, click here.

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