Peruvian Chef Giacomo Bocchio Interview, Miami, Fla.
Chef Giacomo Bocchio, 29, passionately promotes Peru and its ingredients. He uses Peruvian ingredients in Manifiesto, his Lima, Peru, based restaurant. I met him at last year’s Taste of Peru at the Miami Convention Center, Florida.
“I believe it is a mistake, to try to show the dishes, to talk about Peru’s one dish. It’s like Sushi to Japan but Japan has a lot of types of food. OK, so with Peru, we do have ceviche. That’s OK but we should start exporting produce not plates,” said Bocchio.
Born in Tacna, in the south of Peru, Chef Bocchio started cooking at an early age during hunting trips with his Italian family. Then one summer, at age 15, he took a cooking class and realized he cook make a living at it.
It took him several years of studying at Le Cordon Bleu Peru culinary school and working at several Michelin start restaurants in Europe, Brazil and the United States before he opened his own fine dining restaurant.
Chef Bocchio said farm-to-table style sourcing is normal in Lima.
“I use a salt in Lima called Macnames, it is from a small town in Cusco, it was the salt the Incas used because they didn’t want to go all the way to the beach for salt. And this salt, it’s a pink salt, and I don’t know why but it doesn’t affect the pressure, like high blood pressure.”
Bocchio uses several southern Peruvian ingredients, on his menu, like lamb. “Italians brought this type of lamb and they show Peruvians how to raise the lamb. In Tacna they eat that lamb where other places they eat nothing.”
One of his lamb dishes won best dinner in Condé Nast Traveler magazine. “I have a plate only of goat cheese from a little city in Lima—Pachacamac, and it is really nice. Four types of cheese and it is really a contrast in taste.
“It’s maybe 45 minutes from Lima. There was a guy at the restaurant. He gave me a taste of all the cheeses, they were incredible. So I start using them and other chefs start using them because they were impressed too.
“If we offer produce, there are a lot of creative cooks around the world that are going to grab the produce and do something with this produce. And that’s going to make us sell a lot more produce and classic Peruvian restaurants will have those products everywhere to cook classic Peruvian food.”
To find out more about Manifiesto and Chef Bocchio you can go to http://manifiesto.pe/