Tonight the contestants on Top Chef Chile travel to Concón, specifically the Radisson Acqua Hotel & Spa. For the novice School of Valparaíso scholar this is an inconsequential event. However, there are two important undercurrents of note. The first is pretty minor, though not for the School faculty themselves. They love food. In another life they would’ve been chefs, no joke. One look at their Instagram feeds or design projects on Flickr illustrates their preoccupation with gastronomy and how it relates to celebrations. I’m sure many of them will be watching. And if they are I hope that catch the pretty big connection between the Radisson and their School. According to Valentina Pérez’s excellent thesis, this is where the founders planned the first travesía in 1965. Back then, of course, this legendary group did not meet at the Radisson but at the Bucanero Restaurant, which is where the current hotel sits. According to Pérez, “A stone inscribed in homage to the site where the ideas of Amereida were gestated is there, recognizing the first travesía” (70n48). Unfortunately, I have never been to this hotel so I cannot confirm this memorial. However, since an alumnus of the School of Valparaíso—Harken Jensen—was the lead architect I’m confident this School of Valparaíso legend is more on the side of true things. If the cameramen of Top Chef Chile manage to include this stone in one of their shots, tomorrow’s review of this show will certainly be less salty.
To end on a high note, Cecilia Vicuña’s 2010 film Kon Kon presents another view of this resort town.