Lima 17 December 2009 - Tonight chef Gastón Acurrio received from Dutch ambassador Barend van der Heijden one of the ten prizes for 2009 from the Prince Claus Fund for his significant contribution to culinary arts, for raising the profile of Peruvian cuisine and for fostering local development through creating pride in Peruvian culture and identity. Gastón accepted the price on behalf of all the people involved in Peruvian gastronomy, from the farmer who produces the products to the picarones salesman on the corner and the chef of the fancy restaurants in Miraflores and San Isidro.
Gastón divided his price over three projects. A cooking school in San Andrés in Pisco will be financed. Pisco was destroyed by the earthquake of 2008 and has still not recovered. Guaranga Films will get a contribution. They made recently a documentary on the ají (pepper) from the point of view of the farmers. And thirdly the Instituto de Cocina Pachacutec gets money for expansion. This school for cooks is located in the desert area in the district Ventanilla in the poor north of Lima. The school combines cooking classes with lessons in democracy. Recently hotel chain Marriott signed an agreement with the school for sponsoring of the hotel courses. The students will be trained in a Marriott hotel.
Regarding the question what message he has for the Dutch population who in general have little knowledge of the Peruvian cuisine, Gastón answers that countries without a large culinary tradition like Holland, England and Germany in general are very open to new experiences. It is to the Peruvians supply solutions. With the best Indonesian restaurants outside Indonesia Holland should be able to give opportunities to the Peruvian cuisine as well thinks Gastón.
The Prince Claus Fund seeks to highlight and celebrate artists, cultural groups and organizations that demonstrate significant interactions between culture and nature and introduce new ideas and approaches to environmental issues.