The Amazon rainforest is home to some of the most diverse flora and fauna on the planet. There’s no better way to journey into the world’s largest, and most biodiverse rainforests than on a small ship expedition. On Aqua Nera, you can sail down the Peruvian Amazon and be fully immersed in nature and wildlife, all while steeped in comfort and luxury.
Among the long list of things to look forward to aboard our luxury river expedition, cuisine is definitely a key highlight. We’re proud of our long-standing partnership with world-renowned chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, known for his expertise in creating sumptuous and refined cuisine with a focus on utilizing native Amazonian ingredients.
It’s always a real treat to have him on board and learn firsthand how he whips up magic in the kitchen. We’re pleased to announce that Chef Schiaffino will be hosting two departures on Aqua Nera this year – our four-night sailings from 23-27 May and 10-14 October.
Prepare to embark on a culinary journey that will delight your taste buds and leave a lasting impression on your senses.
Pedro Miguel Schiaffino – Peruvian chef, conservationist, and international culinary personality
Chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino is a pioneer in his field. He’s a Peruvian culinary icon, a conservationist, and an inspiration to food lovers and environmentalists alike. He was the first chef in the world to specialize in rainforest-to-table cuisine. Through his innovative dishes that spotlight local producers and promote resource sustainability and responsible resource management, he has put Amazonian cuisine on the world map.
While sailing through the Peruvian Amazon expeditions on Aqua Nera or Aria Amazon, or across the Galapagos Islands on Aqua Mare, you’ll experience Schiaffino’s culinary magic firsthand. The dishes on board are designed to provide a unique, multi-sensory dining experience that is unparalleled. Chef Schiaffino oversees the entire culinary experience on these ships, creating an innovative menu that showcases fresh, locally-sourced produce. He also partners with indigenous communities to introduce their resources sustainably into his cuisine.
In fact, on board Aqua Nera and Aria Amazon, 70% of all ingredients are sourced from within Amazonia itself. Since 2022, we’ve worked with the Wildlife Conservation Society to source aquatic produce from local fishermen.
From Spicy River Snails with Tapioca and Turmeric Sofrito to Roasted Cocona Salad and Coca Leaf Alfajores, Chef Schiaffino is able to transform unconventional ingredients into authentic, gastronomical dishes.. For his amazing work in Amazonian gastronomy, he has been honored by the Culinary Institute of America and won the prestigious American Express Icon Award by Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants.
Schiaffino is truly a culinary trailblazer and a champion of global cuisine. His unique perspective, dedication, and passion for the Amazon and its people make him an inspiration.
Aqua Nera’s Multi-Layered Cuisine
To truly experience the culture of another country, there is no better way than through its food. Board Aqua Nera and join chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino on a gastronomic journey to discover the unique Peruvian flavors and how they complement the wild Amazonian experience.
Peru’s distinct geography provides a variety of microclimates and altitudes, resulting in three rich regions with unique local gastronomic offerings. The Andean highlands, Pacific Coast, and Amazon rainforest basin offer a combination of cooking techniques and ingredients resulting in a mouth-watering explosion of flavors.
Enter Chef Schiaffino and his dedication to excellence that enables him to create alluring and authentic dishes. Aboard our Amazon cruises, guests can enjoy offerings like soufflé made from hearts of palm, scallops flavored with wild almonds and umari fruit, gnocchi made from plantains and yucca, and grilled paiche served with Amazon huatia potatoes. These mouth-watering creations are a testament to Chef Schiaffino’s exceptional culinary skills.
Rainforest-to-Table Dining on Aqua Nera
The rainforest-to-table movement in the culinary world highlights the use of locally-sourced, sustainable, and seasonal ingredients from the rainforest. This approach focuses on creating dishes that are tantalizingly delicious while having a minimal impact on the environment and supporting local communities. The rainforest is known for its abundance of unique and exotic ingredients not typically found anywhere else, making this movement an exciting and innovative way to experience the flavors of the Amazon rainforest while promoting its preservation.
Aqua Expeditions’ partnership with Pedro Miguel Schiaffino transcends the unique culinary proposal offered onboard our expeditions with meaningful collaborations for conservation projects.
Schiaffino has undertaken various initiatives through his non-governmental organization, Despensa Amazonica. One such project is the Tucupí Negro project. It involves responsibly sourcing a dark black sauce made from fermented yellow liquid extracted from grated yuca root, flavored with piquant Amazonian chilis, nutty macambo seeds and leafcutter ants.
It aims to support the Pucaurquillo community and economy and its success led to the creation of the Sustainable Paiche project in 2017. Beyond that, by connecting Amazonian paiche fishermen with top chefs in Lima, it has helped to revive the nearly extinct species of paiche, increasing its value almost five-fold. In fact, its population increased from 2100 in 2010 to over 8500 in 2022.
Aboard Aqua Expeditions, Schiaffino showcases an expansive range of Peruvian cuisine, highlighting Amazonian ingredients at their most innovative and sophisticated. He voyages on two chef-hosted departures this year to share his culinary knowledge with guests, reveal signature Peruvian recipes, and guide excursions to the local fresh market.
Contact our expedition consultants today and join Pedro Miguel Schiaffino for a voyage you’ll remember for a lifetime.