When he was a child Giacomo Bocchio saw Javier Wong, cook in his Lima restaurant. He then wanted to be a chef. Wong has that effect. He now says Bocchio could be the best chef in Peru, if not the world. Wong always thinks in those kinds of terms.
As Peruvian cuisine grows in stature around the world, so do the number of visitors looking to explore the food on its home turf. A few years ago you could barely find a culinary tour if you tried. Now there are several decent ones that bring you face to face with leading chefs and to visit markets and restaurants that only culinary insiders have heard of.
The home of Peruvian pink salt is 10,000 feet high in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, 30 miles north of Cuzco, near the town of Maras. Here, more than four thousand small ponds of salt cluster together on a steep hillside. Each salt pond has a deed, like that of a deed to a house, and they are passed down from family to family, as they have been for centuries, since before the start of the Inca Empire. The pale pink salt contains magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, copper, and zinc and is believed to have curative properties by the local population.
It took a trip to Fiesta Gourmet in Lima to realize I needed to spend more time exploring the food of Peru’s Northern Coast. It was the Arroz con Pato a la Chiclayana to be exact. It’s the restaurants most popular dish and quite possibly my favorite dish in Peru. What intrigued me was that it mentioned the town of Illimo, outside of Chiclayo, as the source of the cilantro, an ingredient equally as important in the dish as the duck or rice, though it lacks the headliner status.
Mistura, a gastronomy festival held in Lima every September since 2008, is an identity feast. Gastronomy in Peru has many layers of hidden meanings, it is not just about the food. In her acclaimed documentary Mistura:The power of food, director Patricia Perez sets out to discover what these deeper meanings might be, and she does a wonderful job in doing so.
The first review of Gaston Acurio’s La Mar in NYC are out. Here’s where they have got it right, and wrong.
In 2005, Gaston Acurio had just opened his second restaurant in Lima, Peru. It was called La Mar. It was a modern rendition of a typical Limeño lunch only cevicheria, like Sonia, a closed door Chorrillos haunt that Acurio had helped rediscover with his television show, Aventuras Culinaria.
Lima, Peru’s annual food festival, Mistura, is currently under way in the Parque de la Expocision. This year’s event has attracted the likes of culinary icons like Ferran Adria of El Bulli and Rene Redezipi of Copenhagen’s Noma. Regardless of the big names and special decrees issued to the world, the more than 300,000 attendees come for the food.
It’s about time Gastón! Peruvian celebuchef Gastón Acurio will open a branch of his La Mar Cebicheria in New York sometime between March and May of 2011, as reported by San Francisco Weekly and later confirmed by Peruvian web portal Terra. The 8,000 square foot location is already chosen, on Madison Avenue and 27th street, near Madison Square Park.