Bet You've Never Heard of This Megachef

But that'll change when he conquers US with his Peruvian cuisine
By Kristina Loew,  Newser User
Posted Nov 12, 2008 11:02 AM CST
Peru's top chef, Gaston Acurio, smells fresh produce at a market in Lima, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2008. Acurio has become a household name in this Andean nation.   (AP Photo/Karel Navarro)
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(Newser) – Peruvian cuisine is the latest craze to hit south of the border, writes Andrew Curry in Portfolio, "thanks in part to superchef Gastón Acurio." With a hit TV show and more than a dozen eateries on two continents, this culinary rock star has cooked up a multi-million-dollar empire. Never heard of him? Acurio is hoping to change all that as he sets his sights on America.

Acurio made his name reinventing ingredients that “all originated in the highlands of South America”—potatoes, corn, and squash—and presenting them in “haute-European” fashion to foodies all over South America. His strategy to conquer the US is to think big—by “making Peruvian the new Japanese," he says. “Thirty years ago, there were no Japanese restaurants in the US,” says the chef. “Now there's a sushi restaurant on every corner. Why can't we do the same with Peruvian cooking?"