Peruvian superstar Chef Diego Muñoz arrived in Helsinki on October 5. For two nights -on October 6 and October 7- Pastor restaurant guests will have the opportunity to enjoy an eight-course tasting menu created by Chef Muñoz and Pastor’s Head Chef Robert Von Bell. Pastor is known for Nikkei cuisine, the Japanese-Peruvian fusion sensation, that is taking the world by storm in the heart of Helsinki.
In 2016, nomad Chef Muñoz (a Peruvian Indiana Jones!) started his World Culinary Tour ready to explore Europe, South, Central and North America, Asia and the Middle East through 22 different culinary projects across the world. Helsinki is one of the world’s food capitals on Chef Muñoz’s map of world culinary exploration.
Earlier this year Diego Muñoz announced his departure from Astrid y Gastón, where he was an Executive Chef who managed to elevate from #42 to #14 on The Worlds 50 Best Restaurants List. “A chapter of my life closed because I wanted to around the world and get new inspiration,” Muñoz explains in the press conference held at Pastor on October 5.
Peruvian cuisine has become trendy in recent years. It is the perfect example of fusion cuisine that reflects the multicultural Peruvian society. “Peruvian gastronomy is really hot nowadays. Peruvian gastronomy is rich with influences from the ancient indigenous Inca, to the Spanish that brought the limes the onions for our popular dish of ceviche, to the Japanese who taught us how to cut and season the fish, to the Chinese, West Africans, Italians and Germans that brought new ingredients and cooking techniques and fused them with local ingredients. Apart from Peru being a multicultural, multicolour melting pot, the cou ntry has a unique biodiversity. We have 32 out of 36 microclimates that exist in the globe,” explains Chef Muñoz.
“Peruvians are proud of their culture. We are all a little ambassador of our culture, we have the same will to share our culture and cuisine. Now we need to get our ingredients all around the world!” continues Muñoz describing that logistics of exports of Peruvian produce is challenging.
Afterwards the floor took H.E the Ambassador of Peru to Finland, Eduardo Chávarri, since Muñoz is hosted by the Embassy of Peru. “I remember years ago, I read in a newspaper the impression of a US American tourist walking around in Peru. He was amazed by the wonderful nature and attractions but at the end he said that the Peruvians have a well-kept secret: their food. This was at the beginning of spread out of Peruvian gastronomy. We taste this food daily at home that our mothers cook. Yet professionals such as Diego make the Peruvian gastronomy well-known internationally. This is an excellent opportunity to show you our wonderful food!” says H.E the Ambassador of Peru to Finland, Eduardo Chávarri.
“The principle of our cuisine is simple: everyday ingredients that are seasoned and prepared in an exciting new ways. That is the secret behind the wow-factor of Peruvian cuisine and we are glad to receive one of the most accomplished masters of this area is here,” explains Mrs. Hiramy Prieto, Head of the Cultural Section at the Embassy of Peru in Finland.
I was honoured to be amongst the few handpicked journalists who were invited to the press conference and had the chance to meet Chef Muñoz and share delicious dishes created by Pastor staff with Diego’s guidance. The dishes were introduced by Felipe Moya, Pastor’s sous chef.
Peru Mucho Gusto!
(Peru full of flavour!)
The colourful dish below is an interpretation of Pastor’s ‘Causa‘, which is a traditional Peruvian potato dish and it was served with prawns, avocado and queso fresco (homemade cheese).
My most favourite was ‘Chipirones‘, crispy fried squid with fermented chili and soy-mirin.
Also, ‘Karaage‘ chicken with Aji Pollero sauce and cashew nuts was served.
To quench our thirst, Pastor’s Head bartender Mikko Ilves and recent winner of Torres Masters Cocktail Competition) had prepared and offered Pisco Sour (Pisco Quebranta, lime, sugar, eggwhite, bitters on top / for garnish) drinks to the media representatives and guests as a welcoming drink.
Mikko also prepared a special virgin drink for me (since I’m breastfeeding) and left his bar to bring it to me, what a gentleman! My refreshing and beautiful drink contains lime, orange, agave, basil and rosewater.
Note to myself, must visit Pastor again soon. All the bites I had were layered with deliciousness! I crave for a platter of causa and chipirones as I write this blog post!
Pastor, Erottajankatu 4, Helsinki