Despite the fact that Gastón Acurio studied law did he never become a politician like his father, no, instead he dropped his law studies during his time in Spain and started to evolve his culinary vision. After cooking studies in both Madrid and Paris where he also met his German wife Astrid Gutsche he was ready to return to his native country in 1994. And what a return it was. The young ambitious soon-to-become-a-world-famous-chef did not rest for a second.
Gastón Acurio opened up the original Astrid y Gastón together with his wife in the fancier district of Miraflores in Lima, and since 1994 the small restaurant that originally was supposed to be a French bistro has grown into an international restaurant empire with many restaurants in eight countries and more to come. To celebrate its twentieth anniversary, Astrid y Gastón moved to a new location in 2014, a hacienda known as Casa Moreyra in the San Isidro district. There is not only one kitchen, but also a fine-dining restaurant, a gastrobar, a botanical garden, two private rooms with their own kitchens and bars, and a research and development lab. The Chef in charge is Diego Muñoz.
Gastón Acurio evolved the traditional Peruvian cuisine and was involved in creating the so-called Novoandina that is the modern style of Peruvian and Andean cuisine, which combines modern techniques with traditional ingredients. The traditional Peruvian and Andean dishes were reinvented and presented in a more gourmet friendly and contemporary way that has brought Gastón Acurio to international fame with several published books as well as contributions to many publications. And to national fame as well where he has his own television show.
Gastón Acurio is a strong ambassador of the Peruvian cuisine all over the world and the most significant and best of his cuisine is still served at his original Astrid y Gastón in Lima. Of course you should try the restaurant’s version of the traditional lomo saltado with sautéed tender loin beef with red onions, tomatoes, aji amarillo, potatoes and tiny fried eggs, but you should also try any of the different versions of ceviche, like the Love cebiche with oyster, clam, sea urchin, squid, langoustine, scallop – all served raw together with tiger milk with three different aji pure passion. There are loads to choose from and the tasting menu is highly recommended. Whatever you choose it will cost you little compared to most fine dining restaurants outside South America. The most expensive main course with the Eten port whole lobster will still not cost you more than around €25.
Astrid y Gastón is a must when you are in Peru. Try the original restaurant that still is the best. Gastón Acurio has done a fantastic job in spreading his vision and bringing the Peruvian cuisine to international fame, in addition to the many chefs he has trained and inspired, chefs who continue to help him spread his cooking style and share his vision.
Written by Andy