Last September, culinary luminaries from around the world—including France’s Michel Bras (Step Up To The Plate, Amazon, DVD), Denmark’s Rene Redzepi, and America’s Dan Barber (owner of Blue Hill in Manhattan and Blue Hill at Stone Barns)—scurried off to Lima, Peru, for Mistura—a 10-day food extravaganza. Peruvian cuisine, a blend of 500 years of Spanish, African, Japanese and Chinese immigration, and native Quechua culture, is “the hot new taste on the lips of many top chefs.”
The country’s top celebrity chef, Gastón Acurio, is dedicated to championing Peruvian food “as an instrument to put our culture in the world.” In what sounds like many steps in the right direction, the 43-year-old Mr. Acurio now has 32 restaurants in 14 cities worldwide.
Lima, home to about one-third of Peru’s 30 million multiethnic population, is a sprawling city between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes mountains. And although it is only about 10 degrees south latitude from the equator, it has a mild, pleasant climate. Temperatures rarely fall below 57 degrees or get above 84 degrees.
In a recent Washington Times article, our friend Richard W. Rahn, senior fellow at the Cato Institute, explains how Peru became the 20th most-free economy in the world, according to the Economic Freedom of the World 2014 Annual Report. Richard notes that the level of adult literacy has risen rapidly, as has the average rate of real economic growth due to a series of economic reforms, including that of the current president, Ollanta Humala.
Despite the slowing of economic growth last year and most likely this year because of the decline in the price of copper, gold, silver—Peru’s major export industries—Richard Rahn believes there is good reason to be positive on Peru’s future. And if a trip to Peru isn’t on your dance card at the moment, don’t worry. According to Zagat, there are four times more Peruvian restaurants in NYC, San Fran, Miami, L.A., Boston and Philadelphia than a decade ago.
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