Regina Tchelly was born in Serraria, countryside of Paraiba (Northeastern Brazil), in 4th August 1981. She moved to Rio de Janeiro in 2001. “As soon as I arrived in Rio de Janeiro, I started to work as domestic maid. I used to see in the street markets and in my own community a big amount of food being wasted. And back there in Paraiba our culture is to get the most we can out of each product”, says Regina Tchelly, who has always loved to cook.
She started grabbing food parts that would be wasted and soon the marketers started to separate the usually discarded items for her. She would take them to her house, where she improvised recipes such as “colorful peels and stems rice”, “banana peel brownies” and “broccoli stem quiche”; recipes which were enhanced throughout time. Self-taught, the paraiabana, who were raised watching her parents and neighbors get the most out of every product in the kitchen, spent years literally cooking the idea to use this gift of revolutionize food to do something more powerful for her community.
“One day I decided to take this project out of my dreams and concretize it. I gathered some mothers of the community, we raised together R$140,00 and I executed my first workshop. Since then, I haven’t stopped!”, remembers Regina Tchelly. According to Regina Tchelly, the huge importance of the project is being able to change the perspective and show new flavors to people. Besides doing a positive action for nature, for our money, our health and to the whole world. “Kitchen is the environment for exchange and I think we are losing this nowadays. In our workshops we bring back the will to be and to cook together, gathering people… It is a great atmosphere, with plenty of laugh.
Favela Organica’s kitchen is magic: we can arrive there stressed, but when the workshop starts our day changes completely. It is an unexplainable sensation seeing the smile in people’s faces when they rediscover food they usually throw away. My mission is to give life to this food people usually ignore, by recreating and innovating recipes and by including these elements in our day-to-day life.” “I’ve simply gathered my experience and my will to be a different cook. And, honestly, I expected all this recognition. After all, what is made with love and for everyone’s benefit and welfare, works out!”, she proudly concludes.