In memory of Carlos Castillo (1933-1996), who taught his family to cook and eat (and thereby live) well.

World-renowned chefs are making culinary pilgrimages to Peru. It doesn’t surprise us that Peruvian cookery’s moment is now.  It’s a varied cuisine – the original fusion food – with globe-spanning influences from African, Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, Italian and native Quechuan (Incan) peoples.

Tied to the terroir

And it is a cuisine closely tied to the land.  Indeed, Peru is one of the world’s most important sources of domesticated plant diversity, due to thousands of years of farming tradition combined with the variations in elevation that produce unique microclimates.   There are 110 different climate types in the world, and Peru has 85 of them, leading to an amazing diversity of produce. Peruvian farmers grow 4,000 types of potatoes, along with other root vegetables like yucca. They grown grains like quinoa at altitude, and tropical fruits like lucuma in the rainforest (both of which are “superfoods”).

Lima (where our Chef Juan is from)

People of the coastal region (which includes the capital Lima) have access to amazing fresh seafood.

These Lima residents (Limenos) live to eat.  Their idea of fast food is a trip to the Cevecheria for healthy, fresh, raw fish marinated in exquisite acidic sauces. Or to a Polleria for rotisserie chicken with flavourful sauces based on the aji amarillo pepper and the huacatay herb.  Or to a Sangucheria for a sandwich like Pan de Chicharron (crisp pork with sweet potato and rocoto pepper mayonnaise) or Lomo Saltado (beef in soy sauce with red onions and crispy fried potatoes).

Culantro is helmed by one of these food-loving Limenos.  Chef Juan showcases sauces prepared according to family recipes, and cooking techniques acquired in top San Francisco restaurants.

We’re hoping Hamilton, Ontario enjoys our Peruvian Cookery.

For more information:

Gorgeous photo essay/blog post featuring the spectacular food of Lima