Located inside the grandiose lobby of The Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia, Aqimero has stood as a notable eatery in the City of Brotherly Love for years. And just recently, the venue has announced the launch of its newest initiative, the Viva Abejas campaign. Viva Abejas—which means “long live bees” in Spanish—comes from Chef Richard Sandoval, and celebrates Earth and the significance of bees to the food cycle.
And just how important the impact of the insects actually is on everyday life might surprise you.
One in every three bites of food depends on bees for pollination, a release states. What Sandoval aims to do is celebrate this integral part of our food cycle by taking a 360 approach with food, signature activations, retail elements, cultural education and philanthropy. With Richard Sandoval Hospitality (RSH), the chef’s new initiative hopes to demonstrate the importance of bees by centering the campaign around Pachamama, the Incan goddess of Earth, planting, harvesting and fertility. Viva Abejas officially started earlier this week on March 22, and it will be at Aqimero until April 24.
The venue has partnered with Mexico City-based illustrator and artist, Lourdes Villagómez, to create colorful and vibrant custom pieces that highlight the heart of the campaign—the Queen Bee.
“I wanted to share the vibrant color palette I use to represent my culture as well as some new colors like the dark greens that represent the freshness of nature with Pachamama,” said Villagómez in a statement. “In my work, I love using symbolism inside the main subject to tell the story behind the piece, so I encourage you to try and find the symbols within my bee images that reference Pachamama.”
This logo from the artist holds a strong sentiment to a few different facets of Viva Abejas. As bees are a vital part of our ecosystem, RSH aims to showcase that through artwork, food, drinks, and even retail items. So, the logo featuring the brightly colored bee has leaves, while it embraces hands and a globe to convey a sense of connectedness.
And of course, as a restaurant known for its food and drink selections, the bold color palette also translates to the food and drink specials.
Menu highlights from Aqimero for the Viva Abejas campaign include their Farro-Coconut Risotto ($25) with acacia honey, farro-coconut milk, roasted heirloom carrot, mascarpone cheese, roasted veggie jus, and green sprouts; and the Avocado Panna Cotta ($12) with lavender crumble, blood orange sauce, and honeycomb ice cream. All of the dishes are bee-centric and plant-based. The cocktail offerings on the other hand vary, with the Honey Lavender Margarita ($21) made with Patrón silver tequila, fresh lime juice, honey lavender simple syrup, violet syrup liqueur, and triple sec as a highlight.
As a release states, wildflower seed packets will also be given out with the check, so guests can bring the campaign home and plant their own flowers to directly help the bees. Richard Sandoval Hospitality will also make a substantial donation to the Help Save the Bees Foundation and will host a contest for guests to participate in bee-saving initiatives.
The Foundation’s mission is to inspire and educate others about the fascinating nature and vital importance of bees, the challenges they face, and their impact on our planet and the human race. As their website puts it, in recent years, America’s beekeepers have lost 30 – 40% of honey bee colonies. Native bee populations world wide are dwindling, as are butterflies, moths, bats and other pollinators. Improper pesticide use, loss of habitat, parasites and diseases, and climate change all contribute to the decline of these critical pollinators.
The Help Save the Bees Foundation is here to showcase how people can help without gearing up in a beekeeper’s suit, and Viva Abejas is one of those ways.
“The Help Save the Bees Foundation enthusiastically partners with Richard Sandoval Hospitality and its beautiful ‘Viva Abejas’ campaign to raise awareness of the importance of bees in conjunction with Earth Day,” says Help Save the Bees Foundation President Laurie Yarborough in a statement. “We share Chef Sandoval’s passion for bees and the good work they do as a critical link in our food chain.”
For more information on the Viva Abejas campaign, including donations to the Help Save The Bees Foundation, visit richardsandoval.com/viva-abejas