Gastón Acurio Jaramillo, the legendary Peruvian chef who has helped bring international awareness of Peruvian cuisine, and whose restaurant, the twenty year-old Astrid y Gastón is currently ranked 18th on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, announced his retirement on Facebook on Wednesday, August 27.
Acurio is the owner of restaurants all over North and South America and Europe specializing in a modern style of Peruvian cuisine known as Cocina Novoandina. “Gastón made Peruvian food fashionable,” Indira Vildosola, a chef who worked in several different countries before coming home to Peru, told the Washington Post. “We used to take pride in Machu Picchu, and now we’re proud of our food.”
In Peru, the chef is beloved not only for bringing global attention to the food and culture of Peru, but for having created countless jobs in Peru for chefs and suppliers, according to a profile of the chef in the Washington Post. Acurio also succeeded in banning genetically modified crops in Peru for a decade.
“I will travel through every town of Peru to do research and development of new ideas, products, and recipes, and connect local farmers with the consumers,” Acurio told The Daily Meal. “Over the next few years I will keep running and leading the creativity of all my other restaurants, lead the openings of other restaurants in worldwide cities, and develop great new concepts of fast casual dining,” that the chef says may include Peruvian sandwiches, home-cooking, Peruvian-Chinese cuisine, and a Peruvian-style roast chicken concept.
Finally, the chef’s biggest endeavor will be “a beautiful hospitality and cooking school and university in the south of Lima” that Acurio himself will lead.
As for Astrid y Gastón, Acurio promises that his flagship restaurant is in good hands. “Now Diego Muñoz, one of the most talented chefs in the world is leading the next years of Astrid y Gastón,” said Acurio. Creativity and avant-garde cuisine is a 24-hour commitment and Diego is the one who can make it happen.”
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Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @appleplexy.