Michelin Stars – The Path of Healing and Quinoa Soup

posted by Elton Lee Abela on April 12th, 2020

I was really happy to hear about the arrival of the Michelin awards in Malta, mainly because as a chef that award was my drive in life for a long time, and I anticipated the day we got a star in our restaurant with a lot of excitement. The process lasted for 7 years and required dedication, steadfastness, patience, focus, concentration, diligence and passion. I gave my life to that dream and was lucky to have found good chefs that took the time to teach me, allowing me to grow by their side.

When the star came I remember how joyful the head chef was, but inside of me there was actually a feeling of dissatisfaction. Unconsciously I expected the Star would change my life or provide some lasting happiness and security. That dissatisfaction led me to ask myself more deeply,  what is my purpose in life? Is this really what life is about?

The journey as a chef was a start and a good foundation for the chapter I’m in now at the Paititi Institute. The kitchen gave me a taste of essential human qualities and what can be achieved through unwavering perseverance and discipline. I realized that those qualities can be directed towards a more meaningful purpose such as using my life to bring lasting joy, and find ways to understand this wild mind that most of the time runs the show. I can choose to not give credit to the  disturbing and overwhelming emotions that arise in my mind such as anger, depression, frustration, and all kinds of obsessions.

While seeking this deeper meaning I traveled to the Amazon in 2013, accompanying a friend who needed support on her healing journey, who wouldn’t have gone on her own. While there, I had an experience where I got lost in the jungle and didn’t know if I’d survive. Approaching imminent death revealed what’s actually important in my life. No career nor Michelin star mattered at that point. I was going to die. 

What stood out most was how my actions affected people. The only thing that really mattered was how I lived and loved. What provided relief and a sense of peace in that moment was remembering that I’d been there for a friend on their journey. This was my first genuine taste of doing something to benefit someone else, and while facing death, it had more importance than any personal prestige or career accomplishment.

The symbolic language of life is essential in all the healing modalities I study because it reminds me that all situations and people in my life are not random; the universe is communicating with me all the time. For example, getting lost in the jungle was a symbol of how lost I am in the jungle of my mind. That experience clearly demonstrated the essential qualities and the course of action necessary to get out alive. 

Now on the path of a healer, living off-the-grid at the Paititi Institute, my passion for sharing evolutionary healing and delicious food continues. Many have been asking me to share some recipes so here is one for a soup I made recently. This is not a perfectly measured recipe but there are some guidelines provided, just like life itself. The upcoming cookbook is in the works and will be more detailed.

I see the purpose of a recipe as a way of harvesting creative energy and bringing it in a way that can be shared among people and passed on. In Joy!

Quinoa Huaqatay Recipe

Serves 8

Onions, 450gr – finely chopped
Garlic, 60gr   – finely chopped
Carrot, 2 medium-sized, .5mm diced
Sweet red pepper, 1 large, 1cm diced
Ginger, (with skin on, if organic) – 2mm sliced
Potatoes, 800gr – 2cm diced
Oregano, crushed – 3 Tbsp
Cumin – 1 Tbsp
Star anise – 3 whole stars
Bay leaf – 3 whole leaves
Parsley – finely chopped
Cilantro – finely chopped
Spicy chili (preferably from your gardens) – spice to taste  
Huacatay (if you don’t have access to this herb, you may replace it with fresh mint, although the flavour will be slightly different)
Lemon, large – juiced
Apple cider vinegar – 1 ½ Tbsp
Water – 2 litres
Quinoa – 300gr
Coconut oil
Salt to taste, mountain salt is preferred



  1. Breath and be calm, feel your body and listen to the sounds around you. 
  2. Heat a small pot. Add coconut oil, cumin,  2 Tbsp oregano, chilli and saute until the fragrance begins to permeate the air.
  3. Add onion, carrots, bay leaf, star anise, ginger, sweet pepper and saute for 5 minutes. Add garlic and potatoes and cook for 3 more minutes.
  4. Add vinegar then water and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes, then and quinoa.
  5. Simmer for approximately 30 minutes (I personally like the Quinoa to be slightly over cooked for this recipe).*You might have to add some more water by the end of the recipe as the quinoa will absorb water.
  6. Add the fresh herbs, oregano, lemon juice and salt to taste.
  7. Remember to breathe deeply and smile.
  8. Serve warm, as the taste buds can not detect all the flavours when food is boiling hot and even better be present to enjoy your cooking!

Be well.

Here is a list of the ingredients with some of their qualities and properties:

  • Onions – Antiviral, dispels mucus.
  • Garlic  – Antiviral, antimicrobial, antibacterial. Garlic kills pathogens but not beneficial bacteria, and it encourages circulation.
  • Carrot – Vitamin C is beneficial for the immune system, betacarotene is good for eye health, includes minerals and anti-oxidants, and scrapes mucus to be eliminated.
  • Sweet red pepper – Antioxidant, rich in vitamins and minerals.
  • Ginger – Kindles digestive fire, helps body process toxins, anti-inflammatory, dispels mucus especially in the chest area, encourages circulation.
  • Potatoes –  Contain antioxidants, iodine in the peel, rich in vitamins and minerals.
  • Oregano –  Dispels mucus, natural antiviral and antibiotic, anti-fungal, antioxidant, kindles digestion.
  • Cumin – Kindles digestion, burn toxins, helps with flatulence and indigestion.
  • Star Anise – Helps improve digestion.
  • Bay Leaf –  Kindles digestion and burns toxins.
  • Parsley – Mineral rich, scrapes mucus from G.I. tract & stomach, high in fibre.
  • Cilantro  Mineral rich, scrapes mucus from G.I. tract & stomach, high in fibre, helps remove heavy metals from the brain.
  • Spicy Chili – Encourages circulation.
  • Huacatay – Antioxidants, helps with cold and respiratory problems, effective with intestinal parasites, rich in essential fatty acids. 
  • Lemon – Stimulates digestion, alkalinizing, improves absorption of iron from other plants.
  • Apple cider Vinegar – Provides beneficial bacteria, boosts the immune system.
  • Water – Essential for Life. Drink at least 3 litres of water to support bodily functions.
  • Quinoa – Less mucus forming than most grains, high protein.
  • Coconut oil –  Antifungal, source of healthy saturated fats.
  • Mountain or Sea salt  –  Mineral rich.

Elton Lee Abela is part of our core team and has been at the Paititi Institute since 2015. Learn more about Elton >>