Ten reasons to visit Peru: James Lowe, Ana Roš and
Pía León on what they discovered on their food trip

Giulia Sgarbi - 21/02/2019

As part of the 50 Best Explores Peru mini-documentary series, international and local chefs took part in four trips across Peru at the end of 2018, discovering the country’s diverse regions and learning about local gastronomy, techniques and ingredients.

From traditional food markets to flying condors, sustainable fishing, indigenous communities and vertiginous views over the mountains, these are some of the chefs’ favourite moments and learnings from their trips to the North, the Amazon, the Andes and the Valley.


James Lowe – Lyle’s, London, UK

Mercado de Magdalena, Lima

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Choosing chickens at Mercado de Magdalena, Lima. #50bestexploresperu

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“I found the way of selling chicken on display at the Mercado de Magdalena in Lima fascinating. It’s the sort of thing that would horrify shoppers in the west – it’s a long way from a plastic packet of skinless chicken breasts you’d find in a UK supermarket. It reveals a greater understanding of food, of animals, where they come from and what makes a better meal. The reason for displaying the chickens like this is so that the shopper has a better view of what they’re getting. Some have better quality livers and eggs, while those with more fat fetch a higher price – they don’t price purely by weight. It’s so amazing to not only see produce that we don’t get in the UK, but also the different ways in which people treat the things that we are familiar with.”


Ana RošHiša Franko, Kobarid, Slovenia

Colca Canyon, Arequipa Region


“Peru is an incredible place, maybe the most mystical corner of the world. An incredible food heritage in complete coherence with its unique and diverse environment. The highlands, the Amazon, the Pacific, the stunning landscape and products of the Colca Valley... I felt like a condor, free in her flight above the unknown, feeling high because of soroche [altitude sickness] and the colourful flavours of Peruvian food.”


Jock Zonfrillo – Orana, Adelaide, Australia

Pucaurquillo Village, Iquitos, Loreto Region


“Returning to the village of Pucaurquillo in the Peruvian Amazon was more than just special, it was significant, moving and emotional just as a welcome to country by an indigenous elder is here in Australia. Being welcomed into the community with traditional song and dance by the Chief and his people was a poignant moment. Why? While they are respecting and marking our visit to their community, they are also opening a window for us to share their culture, which I am so grateful to experience.”


Daniela Soto-Innes – Cosme, New York, USA

Tumbes, Tumbes Region


“This trip changed the way I think about seafood and fishermen, and not only did I leave with that, but also with amazing new friends.”


Pía LeónKjolle, Lima, Peru

Arequipa, Arequipa Region


“My highlight was the Picanteras de Arequipa. They represent the huge impact that gastronomy has on Peruvian people. The mix of colours, products (always fresh and diverse), the use of ancient and modern techniques (in this case the mortar), all wrapped into dishes that are made with love and respect. That is what gastronomy is all about.”


Francesca Ferreyros – IK Restaurante, Lima, Peru

Tumbes, Tumbes Region


“Our trip to northern Peru was an amazing opportunity to learn about and discuss the problems we are facing with irresponsible fishing. This moment was very inspiring since we sat down and discussed with the local fishermen about the struggles they live with daily. I learned so much about how many of the fish and seafood are almost extinct, and that is why I decided not to use some species [at my restaurant], like conchas negras. Irresponsible fishing is a huge issue in Peru, so it was nice to hear from the fishermen their concerns and advice to help our coasts.”


Diego Muñoz – Atman, Lima, Peru

Saracocha, Puno Region


“This place is, for me, the most magical on the route of the [Belmond Andean Explorer] train from Puno to Arequipa. Watching the sunrise in Saracocha at five in the morning, surrounded by two marvellous lagoons at 4,200m, makes you feel alive and insignificant, surrounded by so much beauty of the landscape. On this day, unlike other times, everything was covered with a light snow, which made the silence in the place amazing. It really opened my eyes to the beautiful places we have in Peru and on this planet.”


José del Castillo – Isolina, Lima, Peru

Tumbes, Tumbes Region


“I remember these wonderful hands, full of flavour, tradition, history and above all wisdom, of a cook from the north of Peru.”


Matías Cilloniz – Mó Bistró, Lima, Peru

Pucaurquillo Village, Iquitos, Loreto Region

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“The warmth of the people, the smells and tastes, the hard and constant handiwork of the women of the Bora community are an unparalleled source of inspiration, remembering how beautiful – and tasty – the simple things of life are.”


Arlette Eulert – Matria Restaurante, Lima, Peru

Puno and Arequipa regions


“After spending a few days together, to find ourselves at this point of the road at 5,000m, you realise that life is a set of magical moments like this and that you must enjoy them to the fullest.

Strong women, united and committed to tradition... The picanteras are an example of wisdom to empower women of future generations of the world.

It was an honour to speak to Ana, Pía and the 50 Best Explores team about our Peruvian products and ancestral techniques, which never cease to amaze me.”


André Patsias – Statera, Lima, Peru

Cuzco, Cuzco Region

"It is incredible how cooking leads us to travel and connect with different cultures, people, landscapes and moments. It is a very powerful social weapon. In this picture, with my great colleagues and friends Diego and James, we are sharing the same excitement and passion, about to board the train that would take us to Machu Picchu."

Now watch the trailer of 50 Best Explores Peru and click through to watch the mini-documentaries about the North, the Amazon, the Andes and the Valley.

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