Peruvian cuisine is having a moment. In May, Phaidon published Peru: The Cookbook by Gastón Acurio; with 500 recipes, 800 color photos, and a retail price of $49.95, it’s sold nearly 6,000 print copies according to Nielsen BookScan. Acurio, who owns more than 40 restaurants worldwide, is known as the chef who took Peruvian food global.
This fall, other chefs are doing their part to help popularize the South American cuisine. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is releasing The Fire of Peru: Recipes and Stories from My Peruvian Kitchen by chef Ricardo Zarate and coauthor Jenn Garbee in October. The book’s acquiring editor, Linda Ingroia, had been hearing buzz that Peruvian food was the new “it” cuisine and made a trip to Los Angeles to meet with Zarate, who runs three Peruvian restaurants there.
Associate editor Stephanie Fletcher, who edited the book after Ingroia left HMH, says that Peruvian dishes incorporate influences from South America, Asia, Europe, and Africa, and, she adds, “these flavors are often combined in ways that are a little bit unexpected.”
Also out in October, Lima: The Cookbook by Virgilio Martinez and Luciana Bianchi (Octopus/Mitchell Beazley) takes its name from Martinez’s two London restaurants, the first of which, Lima Fitzrovia, was the first Peruvian restaurant to earn a Michelin star.
Octopus Publishing Group publisher Alison Starling says that Martinez combines modern techniques with traditional staples, focusing on vegetables, fish, and superfood ingredients such as quinoa, avocados, and various berries. Lima, she says, is appropriate for either a new or practiced cook: “These are not long, complicated recipes.”