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Maido’s octopus and olive tofu


Maido:


Chupemushi – shrimp meets hot egg custard


many people came to Lima in the past 100 years,” Acurio says. “We’re living in a multicultural society. Right now, this is our biggest asset.” Acurio points to the mouth-watering results: “You will find a different style in every chef, even if we are all Peruvian.”


The Peruvian palate is diverse. The four chefs explain that although a typical Peruvian will eat ceviche every week, he will also eat a plate of Chinese fried rice weekly. But the Peruvian palate appears ready to expand its boundaries to more sophisticated cuisine. “In Peru, we have only 15 years of fine dining experience. It is still very new to us,” Martínez says. Yet, despite it being so new,


Martínez’s Central managed to top all the restaurants in Latin America. He uses 100 percent Peruvian ingredients in Central. Every plate has a strong sense of place, capturing the rich biodiversity of Peru. His tasting menu offers the chance to experience Peru’s different altitudes, “You have one dish coming from sea level and experience only ingredients from that eco-system,” he says. “Then for another course, you can have ingredients only from up in the Andes, 4,000 metres above sea level.”


Discoveries shared


Martínez founded Mater Iniciativa, an interdisciplinary group collecting ingredients from all over Peru, bringing them to the restaurant. They document their findings on the group’s website so other chefs can learn about them, too.


30


Tsumura: mixing Japanese and


Peruvian cuisine with


stunning results


“I have been asked many times, ‘How did you arrive at promoting Peruvian food all over the world?’” says Acurio. “First, we have a huge biodiversity of ingredients. Second, we have hundreds of recipes we are trying to put online. Third, we are a multicultural society, which means we will have something new and different from other food cultures.” “But the most important reason is that we don’t compete. We share. We are part of something bigger than our own dreams. We are representing a huge community of chefs. We are close to customers, and we can be a voice to our farmers,” he concludes. The Tiger Milk gang does not compete against each other for customers or rankings, and work for a common goal instead. “We are not here in Singapore selling our restaurants. We’re here because we represent something big – something more important than us. We are doing this for our country,” he explains. When I ask Martínez about the camaraderie and unity among Peruvian chefs, he seems amused. “As Peruvians, we’re disorganised. But with gastronomy somehow things work. I think it’s because we do it with a willing heart and authenticity. We feel the passion. “We have to work this way. There’s no other way,” he says matter-of-factly. This concept may be difficult for some people to understand, but to him it is simple. “We are not competing, because when you come to Peru you will probably come to my restaurant. Then,


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