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Peru’s Culinary Scene Surged this Week

It has been a busy week in the world of Peruvian gastronomy. Astrid and Gastón, the famous restaurant belonging to Peru’s master chef and entrepreneur, Gastón Acurio, was named the best restaurant in Latin America. Several other Peruvian restaurants also made the list of the best. As if that were not enough, Friday, the 6th of September, marked the opening of Mistura 2013, the annual festival of Peruvian food, on the beach in Lima’s Magdalena district.

The list of the 50 best restaurants in Latin America is developed by William Reed Business Media, which owns the magazine Restaurant dedicated to the global restaurant profession. Restaurant Magazine shoulders the responsibility for organizing the competition and carrying out the voting this list.

Through a careful process of nomination and voting by more than 250 restaurant and esteemed food media professionals the ranking is established. William Reed Business Media take precautions to make this a fair process that reflects the best opinions of those whose lives are dedicated to food, while blocking influence by personal financial interests. As a result, the list carries weight.

William Reed Media also name the top fifty restaurants for the world, for Asia, and for Latin America. In addition it also develops various other awards.

Peru’s Gastón Acurio, not only saw his restaurant reach the pinnacle of Latin America and be classified as number 14 in the world, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award of 2013. He was declared “Peru’s foremost cultural ambassador”.

[T]he chef-restaurateur’s mission has been to emphasize simple Peruvian cooking like ceviche, and rebuild what he called “the strong relationship between the fields and the city.” Now, Acurio’s culinary influence stretches around the world [. . .] As a result, Peru’s comforting, intricately balanced cuisine has never been more in demand.

The secret, as demonstrated by his long-running TV career, is Acurio’s quirky, exuberant personality permeating the entire operation.
Besides Astrid and Gastón, two other restaurants in coastal Peru made the top ten for Latin America. Virgilio Martinez’ Central Restaurante obtain 4th position and Pedro Miguel Schiaffino’s Malabar was ranked number 7.

Barely outside the top ten, Mitsuharu Tsumada’s Maido was named 11th best in Latin America. Following these, Rafael Osterling’s Rafael made 13, Hector Solis’ Fiesta, 14, and another well known restaurant from Gastón Acurio’s house of fine offerings, La Mar was named number 15.

In sum, the gala award’s evening brought home the importance of Peru, and especially Lima, as one of the world’s centers of culinary achievement. Sue Woodward, the director of the organization behind “Latin America’s Top Fifty Restaurants”, announced to El Comercio newspaper that the organization chose to hold the event in Lima “because it is the cradle of one of the richest gastronomic cultures in Latin America.”

As if to seal that accolade, the Mistura Fair opened under soaring white sails right on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, two days after the awards were announced. The event goes through September 15th.

Filled with symposiums, conversations, lectures, and more than anything else, fine food, Mistura honors not only the redeveloped Costa Verde (Green Coast) but also food from the length and breadth of an extremely varied Peru. Cuzco will be represented this year by, among others, Tamales Juana, well known by any who stand in line on the Plaza de Armas to taste her famous concoctions of delight under corn husks.

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