Chef Richard Sandoval Launches Viva Abejas To Celebrate Earth Month

Food & Drink

To celebrate Earth Month, chef Richard Sandoval of Richard Sandoval Hospitality, has launched the third iteration of his Viva Abejas campaign. Roughly translating to Long Live Bees, Viva Abejas is all about raising awareness for the importance of bees in our food cycle and educating the next generation of consumers.

Aside from philanthropic and educational components, the campaign showcases a limited-time honey-focused menu, alongside the opportunity to install an on-site beehive system at some of his restaurants.

“The global decline in bee population makes us all very susceptible as every one in three bites of food depends on bees for pollination,” says Sandoval. “The cultural sustainability of Mexican cuisine is susceptible to bee decline as indigenous ingredients like tomatoes, vanilla, squash, cacao, chiles, and avocados all require pollinators to thrive. As a Mexican chef this is something of particular concern to me and my mission to preserve traditional Latin American cuisine.”

Participating Richard Sandoval restaurants are offering bee-inspired food and drink specials such as the Honey Hibiscus Mocktail featuring ginger, cucumber and soda; The Beekeeper cocktail made with single malt whiskey, rosemary, ginger, honey, lime, cucumber, mint and ginger beer; and food items including a tuna ceviche with coconut milk, red onion, mint, radish, cucumber, avocado, fresno chiles, toasted coconut and orange blossom honey; duck confit tacos with agave honey, cilantro, romesco sauce and pickled vegetables; and honey vanilla cheesecake with macerated citrus and honeycomb.

“My brand aims to create cultural experiences through food, and the idea is that through this curated limited-time Viva Abejas menus, available at my restaurant concepts around the world, guests will ask questions that spark educational conversations around food sustainability,” says the chef. “They’ll leave my restaurants hungry for more information and inspired to research and learn more. Once people are fully aware of the problem, they are likely to be more engaged in working towards a solution for a more secure and promising future.”

For the first time this year, Viva Abejas also includes an educational component with which Sandoval aims to teach 60,000 early learners about the importance of bees through a signature in-school lesson plan in partnership with underserved, Title-1 elementary schools and through a children’s book about food sustainability which Sandoval wrote. The book, published and available in English and Spanish on Amazon Prime, is a study into sustainability and the food cycle for early readers and bee enthusiasts alike.

“Investing in our youth is the best way to set the world up for success in the future. That’s why our goal this year is to reach 60,000 early learners through curated classroom lessons, read-aloud events, and through my first-ever children’s book Viva Abejas.” Not only does the book teach kids about food sustainability, but it also raises money for non-profits with 100% of the book proceeds going towards the World Bee Project and Hekab de Biblioteca.

The campaign, which started on March 26, 2024, is about a third of the way to reaching Sandoval’s goal, with the lesson plan and children’s book reaching nearly 20,000 early learners in the U.S. so far. Viva Abejas campaign runs until April 22, 2024.

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