Why people are obsessed with Peruvian food
The past few years has seen a veritable explosion in the popularity of Peruvian food around the world. Dubai alone has seen five restaurants open that offer food from the South American country. To try and find out why Esquire Middle East asked Chef Jamie Pesaque why the world has suddenly become obsessed with food from Peru.
There are two pillars of gastronomy in Peru. The first is the country’s varied landscape. Despite its small size it has access to an Ocean coastline, the Andes River and the Amazon rainforest. This gives the country instant access to a lot of ingredients and makes the cuisine rich with variety. The second is the country’s history of immigrants. Throughout history Peru has seen people from China, Japan, Africa and even Italians moving over and mixing their own cultures and food with our ingredients. This has created a deep gastronomic culture.
The rise of globalisation in South America has led to an improved economy, and has allowed us to share our cuisine with the rest of the world. Through our cuisine people are discovering another part of Peru besides Machu Picchu. With more people coming to Peru and – more importantly – investing in the country, has helped its gastronomy to grow. This growth has led to growing appreciation of the cuisine and therefore more opportunities for local chefs to take their skills abroad.
Around the world, Peruvian cuisine tries to demonstrate the variety of the country’s geographical advantages: the coast, the Andes and the Amazon. We are trying to tell stories of our culture through our gastronomy, and a big part of that is creating something authentic, using all the traditional flavours.
Personally, I believe an important part of cooking is not just following recipes, but using the memories and experiences of the chefs to adapt them. In my new restaurant, Mayta (meaning ‘Noble Land’) in DIFC, I wanted to stress the authenticity of it so I brought in ten chefs that used to work for me in Peru to run the kitchen. Because it is the sister restaurant of the one in Lima, we are very aware of new developments are happening to the cuisine in Peru, so we can them here in Dubai.
For me, the restaurant isn’t just about business. It’s the heart of everything good in my company. It’s my opportunity to show gratitude to the country and land of Peru.