Friday, November 03, 2006

Gaston Acurio Interview at Klephblog

Yes, another post about Gastón Acurio.

Journalist C.J. Schexnayder recently posted Part 1 of a two-part interview he had earlier this year with Gastón at his excellent site,
Klephblog, and it is certainly worth a read. Gastón discusses the state of Peruvian cuisine in Peru and the world, his philosophy for his organization, and his transition from a chef of French cuisine to a leading proponent of Peruvian food. Can enough be said about this 'leading light of Peruvian cuisine'?

If you haven't found it yet, here is part of the interview:

What is the state of Peruvian cuisine?

Right now, in Peru, we are living in the middle of a gastronomic revolution. There is a boom in cookbooks, restaurants and cooking schools. We are the reference for the rest of South America. When people from other countries look at Peru they say, "The thing they do well is cook." Our approach to food is a model for the rest.

Is that happening in the United States as well?

Yes. We have seen a lot of attention in the last year to Peruvian food. A lot of journalists, food journalists, have come to write about it because it is the up and coming cuisine in the world. We are where Mexican food was a quarter-century ago.

In the last three years we have seen Peruvian restaurants emerge as some of the best restaurants in the United States. That has never happened before. We are seeing high-end fine-dining Peruvian restaurants opening in Seattle, San Francisco and Washington D.C.

How has that affected Peru’s culinary situation?

More people are starting to realize cooking, and cooking Peruvian food, is a good way to make a living. When I started cooking I had to go to Paris to study because there wasn’t even one school in Lima. Now it is a bit fashionable.

Today there are 22 cooking schools in Lima. We are producing more than 1,000 cooks annually trained in schools here in Lima. And they all have work. Not all here in Peru but all over the world. Right now it is selling point to be a chef from Peru.

How has the popularity of Peruvian and Novo Andino food affected the restaurant industry?

Right now there are about 500 Peruvian restaurants in the world. What we would like to see is that expand to 200,000 in the next 20 years. Which is not impossible when you look at other cuisines that have taken off in the past. There are much more than 200,000 Mexican restaurants in the world today and those restaurants increase the exports of products from Mexico.

It is not just what these restaurants are buying. These restaurants led to an acceptance of Mexican cooking and now you find fajitas and tacos and the ingredients to make them in supermarkets everywhere. People are cooking these dishes in their homes. Not all of this comes from Mexico but there is a greater demand for Mexican products as a result.

Click here to read the complete interview with Gastón.

Click here for the Peru Food main page.

TAGS: Peru, Peruvian, food, cooking, cuisine, cocina, comida, gastronomía, peruana

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