Posted by: Cody Sanger in: Food/Beverage -
This April, while at the 18th Annual Worlds of Flavor International Conference & Festival in Napa, Calif., we learned about emerging trends taking the international food industry by storm. We saw a wide range of presentations about all kinds of cuisines, but one particular presentation stood out from the rest.
Led by Virgilio Martinez, chef and owner of Lima, Peru’s Central Restaurante, From the Andes to the Amazon: A Showcase of Culinary Inspirations from Peru was an eye-opening demonstration of the lengths Martinez goes to incorporate indigenous Peruvian ingredients into modern dishes.
Its internationally recognized menu, Mater Elevations, takes patrons through a culinary journey of 17 Peruvian ecosystems. The menu’s name is derived from the varying zones of elevations where its ingredients are sourced and the dishes include everything from common ingredients like chicken, corn, and honey to more unique items like bark, river snails, coral and chaco clay. It’s Martinez’s passion for Peruvian cuisine that has driven him to gain the most in-depth understanding of every ingredient that can be found in Peru’s seas, rivers, mountains, jungles and beyond.
Through ongoing cultural and biological diversity research, Martinez and his team are able to better understand all the ingredients that can be found in the country’s regions as well as how to better utilize uncommon and less traditional ingredients. A group of multi-disciplinary researchers regularly travel to the Peruvian countryside to compile histories of local products as well as histories of the people who facilitate the relationship between Peru’s geographical diversity and its distinct gastronomy. This team includes researchers, translators, anthropologists, engineers, forestry experts and medicine and nutrition experts.
While we continue to see more and more farm-to-table restaurants pop up, many could learn from the practices Central Restaurante has established. Martinez shows how sourcing local goods helps support local agri-economies as well as how drawing products from local vendors can allow restaurants to create one-of-a-kind experiences that are specific to a region.
As Central Restaurante gains more recognition and praise from the global culinary community, we’re excited to see how other chefs will apply Martinez’s perspective to their creations.
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