photo ©Juan Martin Cabrejos
This week has been a real celebration of Peruvian gastronomy, and at least here in Lima there are a few things going on. Not only the annual gastronomy fair Mistura 2013 will open the doors tomorrow, but a few awards have been celebrated earlier this week.Yesterday I was invited to a cocktail reception at Country Club Hotel Lima, hosted by The Diners Club®. The cocktail was organized in honour of Gastón Acurio, internationally recognized Peruvian celebrity chef who at the occasion received a Lifetime Achievement Award for his work in gastronomy business and for all the efforts he has made to promote Peruvian gastronomy abroad, judged by a jury of 250 restaurant industry experts.If you live in Peru, it is almost impossible to ignore who Gastón Acurio is. First of all, he is a restaurant owner of various restaurants, including his flagship restaurant Astrid y Gastón, founded in 1994 with his German wife Astrid. The restaurant also won last night an award as the best restaurant in Latin America. ( Personally, I have particularly warm memories of Astrid y Gastón, as our engagement dinner was celebrated there... Alas, I digress!). He has also many other restaurants in Peru and also in other countries, in cities such as Bogota, Madrid and New York. Here in Peru you also see Gastón frequently in TV and magazines, as he travels around Peru, discovering products and producers, chefs and restaurants. You may also spot his photo hanging on the wall of a restaurant or cevicheria, as the restaurant owners are usually proud to show off if Gastón has eaten in their place.
Gastón Acurio arriving at Country Club hotel, photo ©Juan Martin Cabrejos
Receiving Lifetime Achievement Price, photo ©Juan Martin Cabrejos
So yesterday's cocktail was a celebration of Gastón's career and his achievements. I even had a chance to ask him which region of Peru he finds most interesting at the moment, gastronomically speaking, of course. His answer was very diplomatic, not wanting to raise one region above another. But he did mention "Lima as multicultural capital with representation of all the regional cuisines. North of Peru has been historically important, and of course Arequipa, which has been a pioneer and proud of their regional gastronomy even before any trends." He also thinks that Amazonian region is important: "not because there are so many restaurants there, but because there is magic." ( !!! )
Could 'magic' be the next gastronomy trend?
At least these drinks and small cocktail bites certainly worked their magic on guests...
Country Club Lima Hotel terrace, photo ©Juan Martin Cabrejos
photo ©Juan Martin Cabrejos
Buffet served cheese and cold meats, and other small bites kept coming: terrines with salmon and prosciutto, fried langoustines with passion fruit salsa, beef-filled tequeños and much more...
Photo ©Juan Martin Cabrejos
And as it was the first time I visited this hotel, I took advantage to sneak around a little bit...
Country Club Lima Hotel photo ©Juan Martin Cabrejos
Nice and stylish!
Country Club Lima Hotel, photo ©Juan Martin Cabrejos
Double congratulations to Gastón Acurio: for the Lifetime Achievement price & for the nomination of Astrid y Gastón as the best restaurant in Latin America! (If you are curious to know which other restaurants made it on the list, you can find the full list here.)