The Documentary Peru Sabe Premiers
On Monday, I was invited to attend the NYC premier Peru Sabe, at the United Nations. The documentary, which premiered in Lima the week before,follows Gastón Acurio as he shows Spanish chef Ferran Adria around the country during a two week visit in 2011.While the film jumped around quite a bit and there is quite a bit of information that those not too familiar with Peruvian food might not understand, the concept and the photography was quite spectacular. Stopping in Acurio’s culinary school on the edge of the desert near the Lima shantytown of Pachacutec, to Cuzco, to Iquitos and the MV Aria in the Amazon, the two chefs encounter fanfare wherever they go. What is particularly interesting are the amount of young people that are excited about cuisine. One segment encounters a young fútbol player who quit the game and turned to learning about cuisine, because he thought there was a real future in it. Currently Peru, as the film states, has more than 80,000 students in culinary schools across the country.
Raymi To Open in New York City
Nuela, a Pan-Latin/mostly Peruvian restaurant in the Flatiron that earned quite a bit of excitement when it opened, has closed. While the food was for the most part well executed, the atmosphere was loud and brash and frankly, a little bit annoying. In it’s place will be a straight Peruvian restaurant called Raymi, whose menu is being designed by Jamie Pesaque, the chef of Mayta in Lima. Apart from Acurio opening La Mar, this is the most exciting development in Peruvian cuisine in Manhattan probably ever. Pesaque is one of the top chefs in Lima (plus is brilliant with chilcanos) and is expected to bequite involved with the project even after opening.The owner of the restaurant will be Richard Sandoval, who has a group of contemporary Latin restaurants across North America that includes El Centro in Washington DC, the Hotel Brick in Mexico City, and Maya in New york and Dubai.
“The dishes will feature authentic flavors but with a surprising twist,” says Sandoval. “Raymi is going to be a fun destination for Peruvian cuisine, but it’s also going to be a hip hangout—we’re adding a sexy Pisco bar in the restaurant and Jaime is known for making incredible Pisco infusions. It’ll be an experience you can’t find anywhere else.”
Pesaque, whose family owns the distillery Pisco 1615 in Peru, will offer 30 exotic house-infused Piscos including Lemongrass, Purple Corn, Jasmine Tea, Tangerine, and Apricot. Beverage Director Piero Rodriguez has also arranged for the full range of 10 Piscos available in the US to be served at Raymi. Fresh juices, homemade syrups, compotes, foams, and the infused Piscos will offer dimension to the bar’s handcrafted cocktails.
New Menu & Patio at La Mar NYC
Gaston Acurio’s New York branch of his popular chain of upscale cevicherias has not only changed some of its menu, but is opening a patio as well. The move comes after an overly harsh NYTimes review. I applaud the patio in particular. While I think the restaurant, in the old Tabla space, is quite stunning, it sometimes feels a little too study for a cevicheria, or Peruvian food in general. It feels more like a New York restaurant instead of a Peruvian one. Letting in a little bit of the outdoors should help.
Ricardo Zarate Closes Mo-chica, Reopens Mo-chica
Food Wine Best New Chef Ricardo Zarate closed his original food court concept of Mo-chica in Los Angeles’ Mercado de Paloma in May, but don’t despair, he reopened the restaurant in a bigger, more formal space at 514 West 7th Street on May 30th. “I want to cook with ingredients that are meaningful to me,” he told the Los Angeles Times. Expect alpaca stew and an alpaca-lamb burger, and sometime in the not-too-distant future, guinea pig. “Maybe with a peanut sauce.”
Lima London Set to Open
Virgillio Martinez, you know him from Central in Lima, is getting ready to open Lima London in London’s Fitzrovia neighborhood, at 31 Rathbone Place. While several other Peruvian restaurants to open in recent months in the city, this one, with Martinez’s star power has gotten the most buzz and looks to be the most sophisticated and exciting of the bunch.Lima London is set to open on July 11th. Try and get in now as this restaurant is going to be an impossible table to get for the next year.
Mistura Changes Locations
I am hotly anticipating this year’s rendition of Lima’s Mistura Food Festival. I’m already planning on being there for one, but two, the location is moving. No longer will the festival be held in downtown Lima’s Parque de la Exposicion, but now it is headed to the larger Campo de Marte, a few blocks away. The annual gastronomy festival, which will run from September 7 to 16, attracted more than 400,000 attendees last year. This year 600,000 people are expected, which helps explain the move.
Did I miss anything? Let me know!
Writer and photographer Nicholas Gill is the editor/publisher of New World Review. He lives in Lima, Peru and Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CondeNast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, and Penthouse. Visit his personal website (nicholas-gill.com) for more information.