An Interview with Chef Karime Lopez Moreno Tagle of Lima’s Central Restaurante

By
Chef Karime Lopez Moreno Tagle of Dishes on the Gelinaz Shuffle and Guest Chef Carlo Mirarchi of New York’s Blanca

Chef Karime Lopez Moreno Tagle.

Did you have any input in the menu for the dinner?
We worked together on some like a warm potato dish which displayed a variety of tubers, and our contribution to it was our tiger’s milk, or leche de tigre.

Were the wines paired that evening from the region?
All the wine pairings was with Peruvian wines that evening.

How did your local clientele react to the food that evening, and what was the most surprising dish on the menu for them?
They loved everything but I think that potato dish was a standout. There was another dish with razor clams, scallops, and other clams with a broth that we made together with kale, ginger, and onion, and it was really fresh and delicious.

Peru has a connection anyway with a large population of Italian immigrants, so did it make it easier for your Italian guest chef to conceive and prepare food for your clientele?
Actually we have so many products here and he was trying to concentrate on incorporating them into his dishes. Carlos and the Central team had fun putting it all together. Carlos and the Central team had fun putting it all together

Was there any equipment that is not standard in your kitchen, like for making pasta, that he brought or you had to provide for him?
No, he didn't make any pasta, but he brought black limes that we were not familiar with. He grated it over a dish of Amazonian fruits and cacao and it was very interesting for our team.

How long was he in Lima?
He arrived three days before and stayed two days after [the event].

Was there a New York flourish to the event?
The fun thing was that he made a playlist for the dinner and it was awesome. It changed the whole atmosphere and it was so typically Carlo. The mix of other ingredients with ours, a different style of music gave a New York style to Central for one night. New York is so cosmopolitan and here we had people in the team from Colombia, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Lima, and all over so it all fit well into the experience.

Was he on the phone a lot with Alex Atala at Blanca and Virgilio in Denmark while he was here?
When we started our dinner here Virgilio was already done with his event and it was 5:00 a.m. for him, though he was texting and messaging earlier in the day, but only best wishes for the night. Carlos was always connected to his kitchen in New York for sure.

Which restaurants did you take him to while he was in Lima?
We went to Amaz, Maido, twice to have sandwiches at La Lucha because he really liked those, and then Saturday after the event we went to an Italian tavern, to Raphael and Mercado de Raphael.

What position do you hold in the Central kitchen these days?
(Laughing) Everything! I am developing menu ideas in the creative area for Central and I also travel with chef Martinez for his demos, and now I am trying to be more on the service every night.

Would you all at Central like to be part of a similar event again?
Absolutely as it was fun and we learned about new flavors and cooking styles.

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What was the most memorable part of the evening for you?
At the end of the service Carlo used the remaining one liter of green juice that we made with ginger, apple, celery, and kale with vodka to make shots. So we were all knocking back these shots which were quite tasty. It was funny as I thought that it was yet another research project at the end of the evening.