The latest in our Iconic Dishes series is chef Gastón Acurio, the undisputed ambassador of Peru’s gastronomic scene. The dishes that define Acurio are many and varied, but they all share one theme, that is, the diversity of Peruvian cuisine. Over his 20+ year career, chef Acurio’s work has brought Peru out of the unknown and transformed it into a top culinary destination, a feat that was recognised by his peers when he was awarded the World 50 Best Restaurant’s Diners Club Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018.
Now celebrating its 25th year since opening, Acurio’s namesake restaurant which he runs with his wife and pastry chef Astrid Gutsche, Astrid y Gastón, has become synonymous with contemporary Peruvian cuisine. Its story is seen as a reflection of the recent history of the country’s food culture and the dishes are a study of not only traditional Peruvian food but also of all the communities, both old and new, that have mixed theirs with that of the ancient Peruvian food culture.
Acurio’s franchise is far-reaching and includes various casual dining and family style Peruvian dining spots such as Tanta, traditional Peruvian restaurant Panchita, Peruvian-Chinese dim sum spot Madam Tusan, old school, popular food-focused El Bodegon, seafood restaurant Barra Chalaca and ceviceria La Mar; establishments that spread his influence beyond the borders of Peru and Latin America, going as far as the Middle East (La Mar opened in Doha, Qatar in 2018).
Speaking of what he does and why he does it, Acurio told FDL that he “dreams every day, that the world will one day embrace Peruvian flavours in their souls and when this happens, make a contribution to celebrate food diversity as a truly weapon for peace, love and respect between each others.”
Below, we show you 10 of his iconic dishes that range from Nikkei style deep fried fish at La Mar, to Peking duck style guinea pig at Astrid y Gastón. As told by the chef, they are dishes that represent each of the different concepts of his many restaurants, and thereby who he is as a chef, one that aims to reveal the country, products, the people and its diversity that come together with “love and generosity”.
Devilled fish, Nikkei style, at La Mar
Peruvian seafood dish at Barra Chalaca
Beef tongue ham sandwich at El Bodegon
Alpaca steak and huayro potatoes "au poivre" style at Chica
Peruvian dim sum at Madam Tusan
Banana fritters with Peruvian dipping sauces at Tanta
Beef rib and cilantro stew at Panchita
Peking duck style guinea pig at Astrid y Gastón
Sea urchin Nikkei alfredo noodles at Astrid y Gastón
Summer garden tiradito at Astrid y Gastón
All images provided by Gastón Acurio