Estrella Damm Chefs’ Choice Award 2024

Estrella Damm Chefs’ Choice Award 2024

Mitsuharu ‘Micha’ Tsumura

Maido, Lima

Peru’s charismatic culinary champion

Born and raised in Peru to Japanese immigrants, Mitsuharu ‘Micha’ Tsumura’s love affair with gastronomy started at a young age. After his father encouraged him to convert his passion into a profession, he enrolled and graduated from culinary school in the US before packing his bags for Osaka, Japan, to reconnect with his heritage and deepen his culinary understanding. After stints at a host of lauded sushi restaurants and izakayas, he then returned to Peru, opening Maido as his first solo venture in 2009.

When it opened, Maido was solely focused on perfecting Nikkei cuisine: a blend of Peruvian and Japanese food cultures with South American spicing and East Asian precision. In the many celebrated years since, the restaurant’s fare has evolved to break through the boundaries of Nikkei to offer a unique gastronomic experience with Tsumura’s personal narrative as its driving force.

A short look at Maido’s record reveals everything you need to know about Tsumura’s craft, care and consistency. Since debuting on the list of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2015, Maido has featured in every ranking, regularly holding a position in the top 10. In 2023, it equalled the record as a four-time No.1 titleholder of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants, having also featured on all editions since the 2013 launch of the list.

Most importantly, however, Tsumura is steadfast in his intent to ensure each of his fine dining restaurants is fun. His character is present across every experience he creates, through convivial atmospheres that forgo any pretension. At his Lima flagship, every guest entering the restaurant is still greeted by a unified chant of ‘Maido!’ (Welcome!) from the team.

Beyond the walls of his kitchens, Tsumura uses his platform to support underprivileged communities across Latin America, through soup kitchens and culinary programmes that help educate people on how to make the most of local ingredients. 

It’s therefore of little surprise that Tsumura has been recognised by his peers as a gastronomic tour de force and role model for chefs across the world.

The Estrella Damm Chefs’ Choice Award is the only peer-voted accolade in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants programme. It honours a chef who has made a positive contribution to the global culinary scene over the last year, as chosen by the teams behind the restaurants in this year’s list.