Gastón Acurio's global plan for Peruvian cuisine
Our author hopes his international internship programme will broaden Peru's palate - and the world's
If there’s anything we’ve learned from the culinary successes of René Redzepi, Massimo Bottura and Alex Atala it's that travel broadens both mind and palate. Each Michelin-starred chef worked in a number acclaimed restaurants around the world before returning home to reinvent, respectively, Nordic, Italian, and Brazilian cuisine.
The chef and social entrepreneur Gastón Acurio harbours similar ambitions for Peruvian food. Acurio, the country’s best-known chef, has, after all, authored Peru The Cookbook, the definitive Peruvian cookbook, featuring 500 traditional home cooking recipes.
Yet, Acurio, the son of a successful Peruvian politician, can see the bigger picture too. This is perhaps why he has struck up a relationship with Telefónica, the country’s largest phone-service provider, to help run Becas Juntos Para Transformar, or Transform Together Scholarships.
The principle is simple: if you’re a young chef, pastry chef, baker, bar tender, sommelier or chocolatier, you can apply to the scheme for a six-to-three month placement at some of most prestigious restaurants in Europe, including El Celler de Can Roca and the fantastic Mugaritz. Applications for this year's grants close on 20 April.
The scheme covers all expenses, and has been devised to promote personal and professional growth of young talents in Peruvian cuisine. Acurio, who trained in France, hopes the scheme will afford many less fortunate chefs the range of opportunities he was afforded. Perhaps it will further elevate the position of stimulating a varied yet in some ways remarkably remote Latin American country, within world gastronomy. Find out more here, and for greater insight into Acurio and his native cuisine order a copy of Peru here.