A few months ago we learned about Compromiso Valle, an initiative that was born in 2021 by some foundations, private companies and individuals interested in contributing to the social transformation of Valle del Cauca, one of the Departments of Colombia.
Young people who went from belonging to violent urban groups to being social leaders in their neighborhoods; women who, during the social outbreak of 2021, brought their community pots to the protests, becoming owners of community kitchens that serve vulnerable populations; young people misnamed “ninis” (neither working nor studying), today employed in companies that promised to give them an opportunity, or scholarship holders at universities and arts and crafts training institutions.
How not to join if we are in this Department? How, if we have always been so committed to vulnerable communities, not become part of a tremendous initiative? We met with them and several ideas emerged from this meeting: The first, to support a hot sauce venture until it is successfully brought to market; the second, to give an opportunity to the urban gardens built in marginal neighborhoods of Cali, so that they become suppliers of origin chili peppers for exports. Our customers constantly ask us for origin organic products, and this could be the way to satisfy those needs.
At the end of September 2022 we took our first steps . Compromiso Valle summoned community kitchen leaders involved in its programs to participate in the contest that would select the best sauce, that is, the enterprise to support. They visited our crops, they spoke with our technical area, we visited our chili paste production plant for the food industry located in Yumbo, and the bases of the contest were explained.
The long-awaited event was held at the Carvajal Foundation . We tried 11 sauces and the jury asked to award two of these instead of one. In addition, he gave a special mention to Mr. José Ery Bautista from the Pondaje Community Kitchen. Mrs. Sandra Quiñonez from El Bochinche Community Kitchen was the first-place winner with a delicious hot sauce made with tamarind, sesame and chili.
Second place was won by Mrs. Viviana Velasco from the Coomostaza Community Kitchen with a spicy Chontaduro sauce, a Pacific Zone product, so native to Valle del Cauca, and delicious.
These two women, Compromiso Valle and Hugo Restrepo y Cía ., will carry out this pair of endeavors, to ensure that many can taste their champion sauces, that they go to the market, and as the winners say, serve to “continue helping to transform and economically develop their communities”.