Lima, Jun 2 (EFE).- In the gastronomic capital of Latin America, dishes featuring bone marrow, potato skins and orange peels are among the more daring treats of Peruvian haute cuisine, dishes that challenge the curiosity of sybarites attracted by the “anti-waste” philosophy of chef Palmiro Ocampo.
This offer, known as “culinary recycling” and which Ocampo also calls “optimum cuisine” at his exclusive Lima restaurant 1087, has as its objective “creation from the total use of the ingredient,” so that “both chefs and diners become aware of the impact that food production has on the environment.”
Located in Lima’s exclusive San Isidro district, 1087 has gone in a single year from being a bistro with a limited menu to a designer restaurant with an 11-step tasting menu, which its creator has christened in the indigenous Quechua tongue: Allin Yuyaykuy Allin Mikuy” (Made to make you think, made to eat).
On this menu, the flowers that weren’t used in the aperitifs at the restaurant bar, and which in other establishments would be thrown in the trash, are used after being pickled to form part of the first tasting, in which they accompany ingredients little used in traditional Peruvian cooking like moss and seaweed.
Though Ocampo, trained in the restaurants El Celler de Can Roca in Spain and Noma in Denmark, was originally afraid to use culinary recycling in sophisticated dishes – created for an elite of great purchasing power – by including residues or leftovers, finally took the risk because he considered that this will be “the cooking of the future.”
“I won’t deny I was afraid, and that I said to myself, why would they want to eat this if they can afford anything? But I was honest with myself because I thought this was the right way to cook in terms of reducing waste, and of having the least possible impact (on the environment),” said the chef, who is also the ambassador of the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) in Peru.
In his creations, the ancient Peruvian tradition of using up every bit of an ingredient, as in the case of maize in the “chicha de jora” drink, occupies a principal place and is the basis for using other newly appreciated Andean materials like the aromatic herb “muña” and “charqui” sun-dried meat.
Along with his gastronomic creations, chef Ocampo has founded the Ccori social project, which promotes projects of social research and development, in order to disseminate this knowledge and technique to Lima’s low-cost restaurants and in that way help reduce the nation’s rate of malnutrition.