MICHELIN Guide Chefs Unite to Celebrate Peruvian Culinary Heritage
Fiercely flavorful, distinctively unique, and full of tradition.
In the ever-evolving tapestry of global gastronomy, Peruvian cuisine emerges as a vibrant force, making its mark on the epicurean landscape of New York City. In a notable shift, Peruvian restaurants, though once sparse, have taken center stage in recent times, poised to elevate the culinary discourse of the city. On the auspicious occasion of Peruvian Independence Day, a coterie of distinguished Peruvian chefs, including four lauded MICHELIN-rated culinary maestros, gather with a singular purpose—to joyously celebrate their heritage and culture through an extraordinary culinary extravaganza.
Leading the charge of this culinary celebration stands Chef Diego Muñoz from Popular, an esteemed Peruvian culinary haven nestled within the distinguished PUBLIC Hotel, a MICHELIN Guide Hotel. With a commitment to showcase Peru’s diverse culinary legacy, Chef Diego is planning an epic event in collaboration with other Peruvian restaurants and chefs. The participating chefs include José Luis Chavez of Mission Ceviche, Oscar Lorenzzi of Contento, Juan Alfonso Urrutia of Osaka Nikkei Miami, and Erik Ramirez of Bib Gourmand Llama Inn.
Each chef brings their unique perspective to the table, offering a mesmerizing array of reimagined traditional Peruvian delicacies that remain firmly rooted in their cultural heritage. For Chef Erik Ramirez of Llama Inn, some dishes are meant to stay true to their original form, like the iconic Lomo Saltado. “We don’t even mess with what that dish is, It’s just too good in its original form,” says Ramirez. «It’s a stir fry of beef, with vegetables in a soy sauce base sauce served with white rice and french fries and that’s exactly what you’ll find with us but with a little spin. We serve it in a large format style, so it feeds 3 people.” Playfully, diners are invited to customize their own culinary journey with a delightful assortment of accompaniments such as pickled chilis, crushed avocado, rocoto crema, and chive crepes.
The upcoming celebration for Peruvian Independence Day provides an unparalleled platform to champion Peruvian gastronomy on a global scale. With visionary zeal, Chef Ramirez, among others, plans to utilize this opportunity to expand to different markets and educate guests about their cuisine and culture. “The goal is to expose our guests to something familiar while introducing something new,” he adds.
The event promises to be a fusion of traditional and modern Peruvian flavors, featuring lesser-known Peruvian ingredients and regional specialties. Each chef ardently anticipates the opportunity to present their signature culinary creations, inviting attendees to savor the diverse kaleidoscope of Peru’s culinary landscape. Chef Ramirez articulates an ambition shared among his culinary peers by saying, “The goal, for me, is for Peruvian cuisine to become as popular and eaten regularly as New American, Italian, Japanese, French, South East Asian. And this is just the beginning.”
For Chef José Luis Chavez of Mission Ceviche, his culinary philosophy revolves around the concept of «New Peruvian Cuisine,» a delicate equilibrium that upholds the authentic essence of traditional ceviche while embracing inventive twists. “At Mission Ceviche, we ascribe to an ideology of ‘New Peruvian Cuisine,’» explains Chavez. «In our case, that means we have deep respect for the roots of Peruvian culinary traditions and Peruvian products, and we do everything we can to maintain the essence or the ‘soul’ of those traditions while still creating spectacular dishes that are presented in new and interesting ways.» The event is poised to enthrall diners with two culinary marvels—one traditional and the other a vegan braised leeks that is one of Chef Chavez’s zero-waste creations where the leeks are presented over a bed of cashew mascarpone, with a drop of rocoto kimchi on top, rocoto being another flagship Peruvian chili pepper used in many traditional dishes.
As for Chef Oscar Lorenzzi of Contento, his restaurant offers a fusion of Peruvian and Italian influences, a delectable symphony that pays homage to his dual heritage as both a Peruvian and a New Yorker. “Peru is a mélange as much New York City, [and] keeping the original flavors and DNA of our cuisine through our ajies (chiles) Herbs like Huacatay and Muña and mixing it with the local products, we create an interpretation of our immigrant Peruvian cuisine.” Lorenzzi attributes the success of Peruvian cuisine around the world to Peruvian colleagues that had taken the lead, “chefs like Virgilio Martinez, Gaston Acurio, Micha Tsumura, Pia Leon and many more that have taken our cuisine to every corner of this” he mentions. For the event, Contento offers dishes like the baby corn with traditional Ocopa sauce—a beautiful marriage of flavors from the southern coast of Peru.
Osaka Nikkei Miami started over 20 years ago, bringing together Japanese precision and simplicity with the dynamic flavors of Peruvian gastronomy. It’s the brainchild of chef Juan Alfonso Urrutia who defines his approach as a “multisensory experience.” At the celebration, a Cured Tuna Tiradito beautifully exemplifies the Japanese diaspora in Peru. “Peruvian gastronomy has highly developed by the influence of Japanese cuisine that is characterized by the very strong approach to simplicity and perfection of its product,” says Alfonso Urrutia. “Discipline and repetition are key factors in mastering their techniques. Following tradition while molding to the South American Andean terrain and its unique ingredients, Nikkei cuisine is able to showcase both Peruvian and Japanese full flair.”
The impending Peruvian Independence Day celebration at Popular on July 28th promises an unparalleled culinary odyssey orchestrated by exceptional chefs. A testament to the burgeoning influence of Peruvian gastronomy across the globe, this grand occasion crystallizes the pivotal role these culinary virtuosos play in its ongoing evolution. United by passion and dedication, their collective vision is to see Peruvian cuisine embraced and cherished alongside the pantheon of world-renowned culinary delights. As they converge upon this momentous event, their culinary prowess and innovative spirit will undoubtedly ignite a newfound appreciation for the culinary treasures of Peru.
Hero image: Courtesy of Popular/Public Hotel