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Breaking Travel News investigates: Cuisine with a cause in Peru
Image: Virgilio Martínez

Breaking Travel News investigates: Cuisine with a cause in Peru

Talking about Peruvian gastronomy not only means talking about food, but also about the dedication and devotion of its stakeholders.

It means discussing each of the leading figures that form part of a supply chain that begins with the cultivation of foodstuffs and ends with the presentation of a delicious stew.

Each action is carried out with care, not only seeking good flavour, but also to promote cooking geared towards sustainable development.

Cooking capable of contributing to the growth of the country’s communities.

Today’s chefs are increasingly committed, not only to offering dishes that delight the most demanding palates, but also to aspects of social responsibility.

The consider topics related to biodiversity and the maintenance of traditions, thus promoting benefits for the entire supply chain.

A new generation

This was the context in which Generation with a Cause emerged in Peru, a generation made up of young chefs who seek to go one step further in gastronomic culture with a social and environmental commitment.

It can be summarised in the following actions:

  • Zero hunger: Focused on eradicating poverty, the movement seeks to raise awareness about the importance of ethical food waste reduction. This is carried out through a bridge between cooking and social work, working with soup kitchens in vulnerable areas, and disseminating the importance of mindful eating and reuse of ingredients.
  • Sustainable supply chain: The movement is focused on the traceability of all participants in the production chain, and on the responsibility of knowing the sources of ingredients, and ensuring their future sustainability.
  • Denomination of origin: An action which seeks to determine indigenous raw materials and the creation of a denomination of origin for a country; the international market can thus recognise products that come from Peru.
  • Guardians of tradition: By maintaining legacy recipes, the movement is aimed at innovation, protection of Peruvian roots, customs and age-old recipes; all this in order to maintain the ancient culinary tradition of the country.

The main promoters of this movement are Palmiro Ocampo, Arlette Eulert, Matías Cilloniz, Rebeca Delgado, Ignacio Barrios and Francesco de Sanctis, among others.

Moreover, when Palmiro Ocampo Grey met the Rumicallpa community in Lamas, department of San Martín, he ventured to carry out gastronomic projects with insects such as the “Curo”. The chef recognized the nutritional potential of these insects, which are rich in proteins, essential amino acids and minerals, in addition to the fact that their production is environmentally friendly.

Onion skin, caramelized onion mayonnaise and roasted slices dipped in onion sauce - image: Ccori Cocina Óptima

Palmiro is the founder of Ccori Cocina Óptima, an organisation that promotes the use of gastronomic ingredients, encouraging their reuse and avoiding waste.

This is how he has been working on several projects with soup kitchens in Lima, in extreme poverty, since 2014.

Palmiro also works with inmates of the Castro Castro Penitentiary Center who are part of a social and environmental gastronomy project that provides them with resources and tools so that they can develop themselves in the future.

Chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, owner of Malabar and Amaz, received recognition for his work in the preservation and diffusion of Amazonian gastronomy in the 2019 edition of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants.

With years of arduous research into food ingredients from the Peruvian jungle, Schiaffino has been working directly with producers, cooperatives and indigenous communities.

As part of the supply chain, they are looking for more people to learn about the wealth and biodiversity of Amazonian ingredients and a greater diffusion of the ancient techniques that have been passed down from generation to generation.

Crossing borders

Virgilio Martinez, the famous chef and owner of the restaurant Central y Mil, which is located in Moray, Cusco, near an old Inca laboratory located at over 12,000 feet above sea level, has been involved in various initiatives for the preservation of natural resources, their dissemination and recognition in world cuisine.

Martínez is also the founder of Mater Iniciativa, a biological and cultural research centre in which he works hand-in-hand with indigenous communities, striving to maintain the culinary identity of each region of Peru and growing native ingredients little known abroad.

His outstanding work in gastronomy has led him to receive numerous World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards (for his Central restaurant), as well as having won the World’s Best Chef Award.

Image: César del Río - Mater Iniciativa

More Information

Peru has positioned itself in recent years as an important gastronomic destination, giving it a great opportunity to display the biodiversity of its food.

These native products, together with respect for the environment and the use of ancient techniques, have made it a reference in the world.

Nowadays, it is not only characterised by its delicious cuisine, but also by its constant research and passion in protecting its natural resources.

Peru was earlier recognised as the World’s Leading Culinary Destination by voters at the prestigious World Travel Awards for the eighth consecutive year.

Find out more about Peruvian gastronomy on the official website.