The Women of Peruvian gastronomy
Peru is a country of fusion: from the most subtle, such as its traditions and small family rituals, to the most obvious, such as its artistic expressions and, of course, its food. The latter is the one that is receiving more and more attention from the whole world, turning our country into one of the biggest culinary references today. And if there is something as much or more interesting than the characteristics of our contemporary gastronomy, it is to know the path that it has followed to get to where it is today. Women of Peruvian gastronomy knows that very well. The various preparation techniques for our local ingredients were soon influenced by the arrival of inputs from other countries, given migratory movements and the beginnings of foreign trade. Cultural fusions brought new culinary practices, and the diffusion of this knowledge over the years resulted in a unifying, authentic and constantly evolving gastronomy. And coinciding with the month of celebration of women, we dedicate this note to the fundamental role that women had in the development of Peruvian gastronomy and how today they are leaving Peru at an international level. From generation to generation, Peruvian homes have heard of the “grandmother’s recipes”: those dishes with a magical touch that end any hunger and warm our soul. Thus, the sociologist Isabel Álvarez remember in a post how women have always been who have preserved the flavor and tradition of Peruvian gastronomy from the kitchens of their homes. And it was with the creation of Chicherías and Picanterías, typical restaurants of each region, that these secrets came out, for the enjoyment of all, to the streets of Peru and eventually to the rest of the world.
Pia Leon and Kjolle
More and more women are beginning to lead or open their own prestigious restaurants inside and outside the country, and the world recognizes them for their admirable results. One of these cases is that of Pía León, a chef who has always been in defense of elevating Peruvian gastronomy through research and application of inputs from each region of the country. She was recognized as Best Chef on the Rise in 2019 and Best Latin American Chef in 2018, and in that same year she opened Kjolle: a proposal without a fixed menu, where dishes are prepared in a very personal way according to seasonal ingredients.
Arlette Eulert and Matria
Arlette Eulert, leader of Matria, was recognized in 2016 by the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism, and in 2018 she was chosen by the Summum awards as the Best Female Chef of Peru. Its restaurant presents a fusion of Peruvian, Mediterranean and Asian cuisine, but what stands out the most about its proposal is the importance it gives to respecting the biodiversity of our country: the name “Matria” means “mother earth”, and the The restaurant is committed to respecting it and the supplies it offers us, so the menu changes according to the seasons and makes us part of the ecosystem. Eulert, with sights on internationalizing her proposal, always remembers how crucial it is not to wait for “the perfect moment”, but to form your own possibilities and act on them.
Rosa Paredes and Kamcha
The founder of the Kamcha restobar, Rosa Paredes, entered the world of gastronomy when she turned 54, being married with three children. And although his path was not the usual, he managed to break through and fulfill his dreams. The chef considers that, currently, there are more men than women in restaurant kitchens due to the conventional view on working conditions, but she does not believe that it is a trend or rule to follow: she has always bet on women and comments that “ in hot areas of the kitchen large pots are used, oil at high temperatures and the wok must be handled very well. Therefore, strength is necessary to work quickly, but that does not exclude women. We can also take on that challenge. I do it day by day ”. The secrets (no longer so secret) of Peruvian food travel the palates of the world today thanks, in large part, to the effort and perseverance of thousands of women who seek to bring to the world the flavors that our kitchen houses, and that they always carry that feeling of affection and warmth of home with each dish they serve.