Gaston Acurio returns to the kitchen
Peru’s best known chef will once again be leading a team of 40 young staff at his flagship restaurant Astrid & Gaston from February.
The move marks a return to his roots, after years of building up a global restaurant empire, being touted as a presidential candidate and, above all, championing Peruvian cuisine.
The new year is kicking off with some momentous news for Peruvian cuisine; Gaston Acurio, the chef who has spearheaded Peru’s culinary renaissance over the last 15 years, is to return to the kitchen. From February, Acurio will once again be working all hours at his flagship restaurant, Astrid & Gaston, after years building up a restaurant empire that spans the globe, from San Francisco to Buenos Aires, and spearheading Peru’s culinary renaissance.
“I feel like a young kid now, a chef but with this experience, patience, no pressure or need to prove anything to anybody other than our customers,” Acurio told the website Finedininglovers.com. “To represent the producers, suppliers and all the people who make up the community of our restaurant. This sort of calm takes out all the anxiety of cooking - we just want to cook beautifully, find amazing flavours and make people happy. It’s going to be amazing. I’ve been cleaning my knives every day. I’m going to cook every day, to do the things I did when I was in the kitchen at the start, I want to arrive first and leave last; eight in the morning to one in the night.”
Acurio plans on presenting two menus. The first will change every month and include eight Peruvian classic dishes, such as ceviche and lomo saltado. The second, which will be updated around four times a year, will be more creative and original. Acurio, who is so popular in Peru that opinion polls here once showed him winning the 2016 presidential elections, only for the chef to rule himself out of politics, also wants to use his return to the kitchen to promote sustainability, creating a “dialogue with the soil, and nature.” In practical terms, that means more fish and grains, and also promoting vegetarian options, such as ceviches based on apricot or artichoke.
Acurio launched Astrid & Gaston, his first restaurant, in 1994 with his German-born wife, chocolatier Astrid Gutsche, after returning from culinary training at the Cordon Bleu in Paris. Since then, the pair have never looked back with Acurio’s twin talents for cuisine and communication turning him into a natural figurehead for the national culinary boom that he helped to start. Now his return to the kitchen at Astrid & Gaston comes with an added bonus for gourmets visiting Peru; Diego Muñoz, the rockstar chef who previously ran Astrid & Gaston is said to be embarked on his own “personal project,” which, hopefully, will mean yet another world class restaurant in Lima.
To visit Astrid & Gaston as part of your unique, individually tailored itinerary, contact the Peru Empire Company at firstname.lastname@example.org or on +51-1-700-5100 or, if you are in the US, 347-713-7030/34.