Peruvian Gastronomy for social development

Peru has in recent years become world famous for its unique cuisine consisting of interesting fusions that excites and spoils your pallet. However, not only has the cuisine secured Peru the award as the number one culinary destination in the world in 2013, but it also helped create social development. One of the men aiding the promotion of the culinary arts as a social development tool is the famous Peruvian chef, Gastin Acurio who explains his motivation as follows: “In Peru, one out of ten young people have the good fortune to receive a great education.

Peruvian Gastronomy for social development

I was one of them. I could go to Europe when there were no cooking schools in the country.” With the wish to fill this educational gap the influential Peruvian chef initiated a social development project in the Northern Peruvian desert, in the shape of a culinary school named Pachacútec Culinary School. The school receives 500 applications each year, out of which 180 are selected. Then the chosen candidates undergo an assessment out of which only 20 students are selected for the course.

By paying a minimum monthly fee of $30 the students obtain the amazing opportunity to be educated in the culinary arts by the best chefs in Peru. Initially the education was completely free but that was changed in order to give the students the feeling of it being their “own” project. However even though the tuition is only a tenth of the real cost it is still hard for the families of Pachacutec to come up with the money, as the average monthly salary is around $225. Thereby the school further ensures that the students that do get in are fully invested and committed to their education. Nevertheless, in return for the tuition, students are guaranteed classes taught by Gaston Acurio and other esteemed Peruvian chefs as well as the supermarket chain Wong, who all volunteer their time and services. The school also invites top chefs from other parts of the world to come and teach the students. Recent guest professors included Andoni Luis Aduriz, the owner of Mugarits which was voted the 3rd best restaurant in the world and Giancarlo Morelli from restaurant Pomiroeu in Italy. Thereby the school ensures that the culinary education from Pachacutec equals the standards of the best cooking schools in Lima.

After completing the two year course, Acurio offers the graduates a job or internship in one of his outstanding 30 restaurants and projects based throughout the world. By doing this Gaston Acurio provides his students with a good education as well as invaluable work experience which will better their chances of getting jobs when it is time for them to stand on their own.  Through the last couple of years this project has provided over 80,000 less fortunate Peruvians with an education in the art of cooking, thereby aiding social development.

Acurio is quite enthusiastic when it comes to the long term goal of the project: “We are developing a vanguard project that will train an army of chefs who will revolutionize this country. I see Peruvian cuisine as a way of transforming lives to help build a more just, prosperous and democratic society.” Therefore he hopes that by providing an increasing number of Peruvian chefs who measure up to international standards they together can change the power balance of the culinary world. Moreover, by training his small “army” of chefs to become representatives of Peruvian cuisine around the world he helps expand the Peruvian art of gastronomy into other countries outside of Peru which highlights why the Pachacutec Cooking School project has been deemed a valuable sustainable model that should serve as an inspiration for other developing countries that stand to gain from social development.

Visit Peru and savor the exquisite and diverse cuisine that is distinct to the country. Contact us at for a great offer or tailor your own trip fitting your specific personal preferences, and let us make your Peru Vacation a unique experience. Amazing Peru can also arrange several unique Machu Picchu Tours and special gastronomy tours throughout Peru. Please contact us for further details.

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