Don't worry; I didn't know about him either until today, when some friends from Colorado came through. They knew about Mr. Acurio, now the most important, and most famous, chef in South America.
Acting as a veritable ambassador of Peruvian food, his restaurants have spread throughout Europe, Peru and now are opening in the U.S. This Los Angeles Times article from last January says he will be taking his restaurants to New York, San Diego and Los Angeles in 2009:
"Everything in our work is inspired by putting value on Peruvian products that are undervalued," Acurio says. "We are trying to globalize our traditions and make them global brands."And in Peru, he publishes a series of cooking books, seen here on sale at a newspaper stand:
Mr. Acurio also just recently opened a restaurant in Arequipa called "Chi Cha" that I went to this past weekend with Tami and Coco. Here's Tami with her classy Chi Cha menu:
I had arroz fashion, a risoto-like dish with a spicy red sauce and fresh-water shrimp.
His restaurants are relatively high-priced here in Peru, where dinner per person is usually less than $3-4. Dining with four people, our meal cost $45. But it was very worth it!
So if you're passing through LA, San Diego or New York....or Lima....look for Gaston Acurio!