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How Gastón Acurio used his culture as a strength
When we think about Peru, one of the first things that comes to our minds is Machu Picchu, recognized and admired around all over the world; however, Gastón Acurio placed another word in our minds: food.
As the only boy of his house, his father expected him to be a lawyer but his attention was captured by cooking and experimenting with his grandmother’s recipes. Nevertheless, trying to please his father, he presented the exam in the Catholic University to become a lawyer and, to his disappointment, he aced the test. Needless to say, he was unhappy, so he did his biggest effort in order to be chased out of there, and he was. After another failed attempt of studying laws at the Complutense University in Madrid, he started to study gastronomy and not only until he graduated his parents knew that he had abandoned his first career.
Acurio started his gastronomic adventure following what he thought it was the safest bet: French cuisine. He studied in the well-known institute Le Cordon Blew, where he met Astrid and they decided to live in Peru and open a French food restaurant together.
He had to borrow money form everyone he knew but they finally opened Astrid & Gastón. It started as a restaurant of French food and then, although he had a lot of success, he decided to face a biggest challenge, he wanted to improve Peruvian gastronomy. Immediately he realized that he had been ignoring the fact that Peru is one of the richest countries in terms of its variety of fruits and vegetables. Excited by all the possibilities and new recipes that he could create, he traveled around Peru and he and Astrid decided to change from French food to Peruvian food, revolutionizing the whole food industry in the country. They created an entire new movement.
Three More Peruvian chefs got interested in this new concept and they started to interchange ideas and they innovate by bringing all their ideas together. They had the ideal of transforming the way in which Peruvian food was perceived. They changed the whole discourse and the commensal’s experience. This new movement not only transformed the way in which Peruvians eat, it transformed the entire culture, even the tourism. Peru became a brand. Nowadays, Gastón Acurio is the most recognized Latin American chef, he has 37 Peruvian restaurants over 11 countries that produce more than 100 million dollars per year.
We all have dreams and preferences but sometimes those predilections prevent us of being aware of the presence of unexploded fields that have been there all the time. Do not marry and idea, explore, search and try out unknown grounds.