Peru’s campaign to promote Peruvian food, as a major effort of national development, surged forward in the United States these days. Forbes magazine declared Peruvian food “the ‘it’ cuisine”, and a top ten food trend of 2012. And, it got a prominent and effusive write up in the Huffington Post.
Both are likely due to the tireless promotion of the country’s gastronomy by “Brand Peru”, the effort of a combination of Peru’s government and private industry to make their country into a widely recognized brand. The trademark is owned by the Commission for Export Promotion and Tourism (Promperu).
Brand Peru has not only generated support abroad it has stimulated excitement within the country. The symbol of a Peru coming from a cosmic spiral appears seemingly everywhere in markets and billboards, as well as on t-shirts, caps, and magnets. Though Promperu, the trademark’s official owner, is an agency of Peru’s government, the notion that a country is a brand makes it property that can be privately held. This is a new notion and potentially an important change in the way the world works.
In Washington DC, Peru opened a new marketing drive with an event at the Inter-American Bank October 23, 2012. The invitation only event began with a short video from celebrated Peruvian film-maker Claudia Llosa entitled “Recordarás Perú” (“You will remember Peru” or “Peru will remember”) designed to show how Peru’s sights, people, and culture have a lasting impact on visitors. In addition, the documentary “Peru sabe: La cocina como arma social” (Peru knows : cooking as a tool for social progress) was presented along with a discussion by celebrity chefs Gastón Acurio and Ferran Adriá who discussed the value of gastronomic training as a means of social development and reducing poverty. In addition guests were served a stunning menu of Peruvian cuisine.
Despite the power of the evening, the excitement for Peruvian food also stems from excellent Peruvian restaurants in the United States. David John Appell writing in the Huffington Post mentions the celebrated restaurants opened by Gastón Acurio, such as La Mar as well as his Miami favorites Mixtura and El Chalán.
Forbes trumpets that “Peruvian food is ‘the talk of the food trades’. It credits Chef Ricardo Zárate and his Los Angeles Restaurants MoChica and Picca Peru and Chef Richard Sandoval who recently opened Raymi in New York.
Forbes and the Huffington Post argue that Peruvian food is brilliantly attractive because it is an original fusion of trends from the New World as well as Europe and Asia. In addition, Peru was one of the great places for the domestication of food crops. Though they have already exported ones like the potato that transformed the world, there are many more just waiting in Peru’s markets and fields for the world to get to know.
With the messianism of a well financed advertising campaign and an outstanding product, Brand Peru is surging forward and making waves in the behemoth of the north.