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PERUVIAN CUISINE


Gastón Acurio: the chef behind 30 restaurants


its latest menu relaunch. But people are now asking: is Peruvian food just a trend or will it create a lasting impact on the global culinary world? Top Peruvian chef Gastón Acurio tells


me: “Every day, three new Peruvian restaurants open somewhere in the world, from Finland to Australia, and the type of Peruvian cuisine will range from fine dining to food trucks.”


Clearly this is a global phenomenon, but outside Peru, which cities have the most Peruvian restaurants? Acurio, the Peruvian chef behind more than 30 restaurants in more than a dozen countries – and the unofficial ambassador of Peruvian food – easily rattles off the list: “Miami in the US; then Buenos Aires in Argentina; Madrid and Barcelona in Spain.” Acurio continues: “In Japan, in one year the number of Peruvian restaurants rose from three to 35 restaurants by the end of 2014.” Acurio is in Singapore for Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2015 participating in masterclasses and the food summit. But he is only a quarter of the Leche de Tigre gang, along with Virgilio Martínez of Central, Latin America’s best restaurant according to the list and now fourth in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants – a huge jump from 15th in 2014; Mitsuharu Tsumura of Maido (seventh in Latin America’s 50 Best); and Rafael Piquera of Maras. Leche de Tigre, or Tiger’s Milk, is the marinade of lime, chili, onion, garlic, ginger and coriander used to ‘cook’ the ceviche.


“We are in Singapore to share our


ceviches, a little bit of our culture, and to inspire everybody to visit our country and fall in love with our products and ingredients,” Acurio says. “We are representing millions of farmers in our country, thousands of fishermen, and thousands of Peruvian chefs, working together with the movement we have been building these past 12 years. The main idea is to use food and cooking, and in this case Peruvian food, as an instrument to promote our country. “We have not invented any recipes.


We use the recipes our forefathers designed and conceptualised hundreds of years ago. We celebrate our biodiversity and our agriculture. We do our best to build a new product called Peruvian food for the world.”


“We do our best to build a new


product – Peruvian food


for the world.”


Maiz morada – or purple


corn – is easy to spot


A culinary marriage


What exactly is Peruvian food? The four chefs take turns to outline one facet of the cuisine. Tsumura explains Nikkei cuisine. Nikkei is the name given to the Japanese emigrants to Peru and their descendants. It also refers to the marriage of Japanese and Peruvian cuisines. The Japanese first came to Peru 115 years ago, resulting in this uniquely Japanese- Peruvian fusion cuisine.


But cultural diversity is not limited to Japanese influences, China, Italy, and Spain have their say as well. In Lima, Peru’s capital, the cultural diversity of domestic migrants cannot be ignored. “With the economic problems in Peru,


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When in Peru, try some local langosta (lobster)


29


PETER TAN


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