The increasing popularity of Peruvian food has been unstoppable since 2011 when Ferran Adrià, a 3 Michelin Star Catalan chef from Spain’s Costa Brava, considered one of the best chefs in the world, announced that Peru held the key to the future of gastronomy. Another boost for Peruvian cuisine came at the end of 2013 when super-chef Alain Ducasse declared “Peru will become one of the leading actors on the global culinary scene”, and the Culinary Institute of America naming 2014 “the Year of Peruvian Cuisine”.
This Peruvian food trend is deeply local as well as global. In Lima, the Mistura Food Festival, which draws chefs from around the world each year in September, celebrates the delicious diversity of Peruvian cuisine and in 2013 hosted the debut of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards. The arrival of these awards truly recognizes the emergence of Peru’s culinary landscape and we were thrilled to see Aqua Expeditions’ Executive Chef, Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, coming in at 7th place in the Best Restaurant Awards for his Lima establishment, Malabar.
Sanjay Dwivedi of Coya, Arjun Waney’s acclaimed Peruvian restaurant in Mayfair in London enthuses “I’m amazed how quickly things are moving. Lima is a different city for restaurants even from when I came over 18 months ago before opening Coya. I’d heard Latin American cuisine was taking off. Things have been bubbling away for some time. The chefs are thinking differently.”
The Peruvian culinary trend began many years ago in the ‘90’s, when Nobu Matsuhisa began making waves on the culinary scene with his Japanese-Peruvian cooking in London, but the past couple of years have seen those early rumblings develop into a full-blown explosion of foodie enthusiasm. Just this month, celebrity Chef Gaston Acurio opened his third restaurant, La Mar by Gaston Acurio, at the Mandarin Oriental in Miami. San Francisco now has at least 20 Peruvian restaurants and there has been a surge in London launches with Lima, Coya, and Ceviche all opening in 2012 to huge acclaim. Martin Morales, the founder of Ceviche and a Limeño entrepreneur, opened his second restaurant, Andina, in East London earlier this year. Andina focuses on the wholesome, healthy ingredients of Andean dishes and is right on trend as food lovers become more and more health-conscious, without sacrificing flavor.
With ingredients sourced from the Pacific coast, the Andes and the Amazon, Peruvian ingredients are overflowing with taste. Even those ingredients that we are familiar with come in numerous forms with thousands of potatoes, hundreds of chillies, and different varieties of corn. There is ‘lucuma’, an Andean valley fruit with distinctive notes of caramel (and variously compared to cashew, maple and sweet potato), ‘huacatay’, a Peruvian black mint that tastes like aniseed and is included in a pungent salsa alongside crisp ‘chicharrones’ (pork crackling).
On board the Aria Amazon and Aqua Amazon, Chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino will wow you with his own Peruvian recipes. Check some out now!