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Director and Research

Pilar Egüez Guevara


Pilar Egüez Guevara

Jesus Milian

Patricio Egüez

Scott Kustes


Jesus Milian

Peter Judkins Wellington


Yaima Pardo La Red

Yenier Martínez Carrillo


Julio Prado Guerrero – Atacames

Omar González Betancourt – Borbón

Rubi Cortez – Isla de Limones

Matilde Angulo – Esmeraldas

Franklin Casierra – Atacames

Berneliza Mina – Esmeraldas

Tatiana Fernández – Quito

Mauricio Acuña – Quito


Director and producer

In 2002, after enduring decades of recurrent chronic illnesses and seeking cures in all sorts of modern dietary prescriptions, I came across a book called "Nourishing Traditions"  which broke down in one page according to the latest science, the medicinal value of the quinoa soup recipe that my mother raised me with. Since then, I have redirected my search to learn and promote the traditional knowledge about food and medicine found in my own family and community in Ecuador. I founded Comidas que Curan (Foods That Heal) to learn directly from elders and promote their wisdom through research, writing and film. Based on over 100 interviews with family members and rural and urban dwellers on the coast, highlands and amazon regions of Ecuador, I have produced several documentaries in different languages to share this life-sustaining knowledge with the world. My latest documentary, Raspando coco (2018), about Afro-Ecuadorians' medicinal and culinary traditions surrounding coconut has been viewed in Latin America, North America, Europe and Asia, in Spanish, English and Japanese. Through my films and talks I bring stories told by the bearers of ancestral food and medicinal traditions, to students, teachers, health educators, and activists, who then transform them into impactful teaching content and culturally significant community interventions. I dedicate this work to my family, and especially my mother and grandmother who teach me every day about the important things in life through the love of food. For more information visit and



Esmeraldas Province of Northwest Ecuador is the southernmost sector of an African-Latin American Pacific culture area well known for its vibrant Afro-Ecuadorian musical traditions. Until the production of the spectacular film Raspando Coco, the extraordinarily rich and varied uses of cooked and raw coconut preparations were little known if at all out side of the region itself. Thanks to the writing, production and direction of Dr. Pilar Eguez Guevara, the varied cultural, medicinal, curative and culinary properties of the Manila coconut are now set forth for all of us to understand and appreciate. Even those who have studied in-depth and written extensively about Afro-Ecuadorian culture of Esmeraldas will learn a great deal from this important film. It is highly recommended for lay viewers, students in university classes at all levels, and required viewing by professionals in Latin American Cultures and African American specialists

Norman E. Whitten, Jr., author of Black Frontiersmen: Afro-Hispanic Culture of Ecuador and Colombia, and Histories of the Present: People and Power in Ecuador (USA)

Raspando Coco' is a wonderful documentary that uses the importance of coconut in Afro-Esmeraldian cuisine as a window onto a variety of aspects of Afro-Esmeraldian lives, from geographic marginalization within their own country--Ecuador--, and contemporary health issues evoked by medical doctors who want to limit coconut consumption, to lack of interest of the growing urban populations for traditional foodways.  I highly recommend its viewing as it facilitates an introduction to the lowlands of Northern Ecuador and Colombia

Jean Muteba Rahier, Professor of Anthropology and African & African Diaspora Studies, 
Founding Director Observatory of Justice for Afrodescendants in Latin America (OJALA)

Raspando Coco is a multi-sensory exploration of the coconut in Afro-Ecuadorian foodways.  The film helps us to understand the rich meanings that communities in Esmeraldas have in relation to the coconut as we hear the lived experiences of the many participants in the documentary.  All the while, the viewer is witness to a complex of cultural practices with which the coconut is cultivated, marketed, prepared, and enjoyed.  This 30-minute film is ideal for a wide range of undergraduate courses that examine shifting expressive cultural practices, political economies, and food systems in Latin America.

William Hope, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Knox College, USA

Absolutely spectacular and beautiful film with excellent information.

Nallah Ellis, Hudson Valley Farm Hub, USA

This is such a beautiful film! I could smell the foods through the screen. This type of work will preserve culinary foodways for the future

Shelley Dyer, Juicing Collards, USA

Excellent! This film needs to be widely distributed at universities and medical/health conferences.

Arlyn Elizee, USA

Beautiful film!

Tasha Cunningham, Forsyth Farmers Market, USA

Thank you! This was so beautiful and educational. It opened my eyes.

Nella Frierson, Brooklyn Heights Community Garden, USA

Thank you for showing the culinary history and foodways of the coconut in Esmeraldas!

Liz Kleisner, City Green, USA

I congratulate you for this beautiful piece of work. You have done coconut justice and the message is clear with so many wonderful people sharing their beliefs and wisdom. A story and reality beautifully described and surely resonates with other societies where similar things are going on and how traditions and natural diets are slowly being forgotten.

Patrick Lee, Busan, South Korea

A must-see work for anyone who is interested in food policy, gastronomic heritage, cultural minorities and food systems. We need more critical voices like Pilar's: poignant, humble, authentic and very much pertinent.

Rocio Carvajal, Mexican gastronomy educator, cultural historian and podcaster

It made me feel like there is a whole another world.

Allison Braunstein, University of Arizona

Es un excepcional documento de la cultura de los pueblos.

Marcos González Pérez, Intercultura Colombia

Después de ver el documental, sentí pasión por continuar la lucha de los derechos indígenas con las mujeres Aymaras y Quechuas en Puno, Perú.

LeeAnne Williams, University of Notre Dame

The film evoked a desire of wanting to know more about the different forms of gastronomy throughout the world.

Edwin Perez, University of Arizona

Usually when I watch documentaries I end up not paying attention, but in this film my eyes were literally glued to the screen.

Angel Flowers, University of Arizona

Me hizo pensar en la importancia de las tradiciones / alimentos culturales, incluso si sus implicaciones contrarrestan las concepciones modernas de salud.

Estudiante, University of Notre Dame

Raspando Coco brinda una nueva visión sobre la salud. Sentimos un nuevo compromiso hacia nuestra producción local de aceite de coco y el comercio justo que promovemos en nuestra tienda. La preparación de la comida es un ritual que tenemos en Piña Palmera, y fue muy bonito ver el mismo respeto para ese conocimiento en el documental.

Jenny Taylor, Piña Palmera, Mexico

The film kept my 4-year-old's attention. I think it's a great film for kids and young people in the US, because it shows people of color, Spanish speakers, and working-class people in a positive light.

Kate Grim Feinberg, Find Your Center Dance Studio, USA

Es un excelente documental que permite reivindicar prácticas alimenticias autóctonas.

Andrés Rodas, Universidad del Valle, Colombia

Me llevo la reflexión de apreciar más la comida local y el conocimiento de los viejos, además de sus medicinas tradicionales.

Estudiante de la Universidad del Valle, Colombia

Es un documental producido ejecutivamente, con un tema profundo e interesante. Me gustó mucho el guión. Me recordó a los tiempos más simples que me cuenta mi abuelita.

Lorena Caicedo, Universidad del Valle, Colombia

Me alborota la necesidad de seguir conociendo y valorando nuestro conocimiento, el reconocimiento de lo propio. Me deja inquietudes sobre el rol de la ciencia en los valores morales y como nos van cerrando las opciones de consumo, de relación.

Lucy Nieto, Universidad del Valle, Colombia

Sentí felicidad por darle visibilidad a este tipo de soberanía alimentaria en la región del Ecuador.

Diego Aza Valenzuela, Universidad del Valle

Magistral. ¡Me encantó! Me sentí llamada a documentar la inequidad con recursos audiovisuales y artísticos que convocan de otras formas aparte de documentos escritos académicos. Me queda la reflexión de que, como profesionales de la salud, debemos estar atentos al papel que jugamos en la reproducción o cuestionamiento de discursos hegemónicos.

Dra. Beatriz Guerrero, Universidad del Valle

Un documental totalmente reivindicador que permite entender la importancia de comprender nuestras raíces y que las valoremos.

Whitnye Salas, Universidad del Valle


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