Vicky The Gastronaut On His Peruvian Food Escapade
Chef Vicky with a local in Peru.
Celebrity chef, cookbook author and cookery show host, Chef Vicky Ratnani wears many hats. Born and raised in Mumbai, Chef Vicky has always been passionate about food and travel. Though his innovative recipes and style of cooking has taken him to places, this time Chef Vicky Ratnani literally travels to Peru to discover the local cuisine.
Since you have extensively travelled across Peru, what according to you is the main essence of the local food?
According to me, the produce of the country is amazing. No other country has the variety of something as simple as potatoes or quinoa that Peru has. The place is very mystic, vibrant and just altogether very different than most places.
Tell us about some of the best foods you have eaten on your trip.
One of the best things I have eaten in Peru is the ceviche, which is the traditional seafood dish. Peru is greatly influenced by Japan and its food, so just like the Japanese have sashimi, the Peruvians have ceviche which is made with raw fish, chillies and a lot of citrusy flavours.
What according to you is the biggest Peruvian food trend at the moment?
I would say it is ceviche, not because I personally like it, but because of the flavours and all the elements that go into it.
If we were to go on a trip to Peru, what should be on our must-try list?
Well, there are many things that you should try, but if I had to name just five, they would be - ceviche of course, the seafood soup, the pan con chicharron, which is more like street food made with pork almost like our vada pav, anticuchos which are very similar to our kebabs and all the corn dishes.
If you were to recreate any Peruvian dish at your restaurant, what would it be and how would you make it?
I have recreated the ceviche in my kitchen with the local surmai by giving it a little twist with ginger and soy sauce. I also made the pan con chicharron for a dinner a couple of months back.
What are the similarities and differences between Peruvian and Indian cuisine?
The similarities would be the flavour profiles and the ingredients we use. The differences would probably be the way we cook and the use of spice as we more often than not tend to overpower our dishes with spices. Whereas in Peruvian cooking, the ingredient shines through more.
What is your food mantra?
If you haven’t tried something, make sure you do.
What are the three ingredients that we will always find in your pantry?
The three things that are in my pantry at any given point would be sea salt, olive oil and lots of chillies.
The one dish you made that you are very proud of?
To be honest, there are many dishes that I am proud of, but in the more recent times I am extremely happy with my raw mango and green chilli risotto.
Cooking on camera or cooking in the kitchen, which one do you prefer?
I like to cook, irrespective of whether it’s on camera or in the kitchen.
What are your top three rules to start a restaurant?
My top three rules would be concept, mathematics and vision.