I was invited by clients to visit Lima Peru for an immersion into the cuisine and culture. We are going to help them build a Peruvian Fast Casual Concept here in Chicago.
It was an utterly fascinating experience and a once in a lifetime opportunity. It was so gracious of our clients to invite us and it was everything I expected and more. Lima is a very large city in a developing country and we had the chance to visit the ocean as well as attend the wholesale markets on the outskirts of town.
At the markets we saw celery that looked as if it were on steroids! Absolutely gorgeous. The types and styles of potatoes goes on for days. Different starch content to each one and a variety of traditional and authentic recipes for each type. The mangoes were incredible and available every morning as part of our breakfast ritual. They have a purple corn in Peru which yields a terrific beverage called a Chicha Morada … love it!
Legumes and fresh seafood are other staples of Peruvian Cuisine and we were so delighted to enjoy their traditional Cebiche at La Mar, a very well known restaurant where the service is so phenomenal. Not stuffy, young and hip, friendly and attentive. There are close to 10 million people in Lima and no real rules of the road so to speak. We put our trust in the hands of our driver and off we went. I have never had an eating trip quite like this one. By the last day, we were overstuffed.
We are full of ideas and ready to work on our menu. It’s going to be fun.