Chef Gastón Acurio of La Mar - Biography
Gastón Acurio is a chef, writer, entrepreneur, and champion of Peruvian culinary arts. He has 28 restaurants around the world, 20 publications in his portfolio, and a weekly cable TV show. In 2005, he was named Entrepreneur of the Year by America Economía magazine. Acurio has received worldwide acclaim for initiating a gastronomical revolution in Peruvian cuisine. He bears this goal in all of the concepts he develops, and all of the organizations he leads.
During the late 1980s, Acurio’s family wanted him to become a lawyer, so he went to law school. But his passion for food was stronger, so he decided to pursue a culinary arts career at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. While he was there, he met his wife Astrid, a German-born woman who was also pursuing a culinary career. In 1994, they returned to Peru and founded their eponymous restaurant, and with it, one of the first examples of Peruvian haute cuisine. As they had studied in France, people identified it at first as French cuisine, but over time Acurio experimented with Peruvian ingredients, taking inspiration from local traditions. In 2011, 17 years after Astrid & Gastón opened its doors, the restaurant was included in the S. Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants list.
After the couple’s venture, the restaurants La Mar Cebicheria Peruana, Tanta, Panchita, Chicha, and Madam Tusan followed. Each of these restaurants aims to restore a different specialty in the vast catalogue of Peruvian cuisine, accumulated from 500 years of fusion with other immigrant cultures. New projects continue to crop up, like the Italo-Peruvian fusion restaurant Bachiche.
Acurio now has restaurants in 12 countries. He has received honors for his work promoting Peruvian cuisine, including the international “Prince Claus of Holland” award in the category “Collective Memories and Journalism.” He was a featured speaker for 2011 Madrid Fusion and is a main supporter of the Pachacutec School of Cuisine, providing underprivileged youths with access to a culinary education. He has published 20 books that have all been national bestsellers; his latest is called 500 Years of Fusion. Acurio also hosts a weekly cable TV show titled “Aventura Culinaria” (Culinary Adventure).