On July 28th, the Embassy of Peru to the Netherlands together with Hilton’s BlueBlood Restaurant in The Hague, celebrate Peru and its culinary tradition through a delicious food marathon, under the direct supervision of Chef Luis Rojas.
As Diplomat Magazine is supporting the event, we talked to Chef Rojas about his passion for food, vast experience and love for Peruvian traditions.
As he recalls, some of his warmest childhood memories in Peru are related to food, to going to the market with his mother and choosing fresh ingredients for their family.
He says: ‘I started cooking when I was only 14 year old and I remember being especially inspired by how my mother managed to make the most savory and delicious dishes with the simplest ingredients’.
After he completed his studies in culinary school in Peru, he started working as a professional cook in different countries, and the list is quite impressive: Chile, Brazil, Qatar, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and now, The Netherlands. He has fond memories from everywhere, he worked in a Michelin-Star restaurant in Brazil, worked for Marriott in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and he is now the Head Chef at the BlueBlood Restaurant at the prestigious Hilton The Hague.
He traveled the world looking for inspiration, always learning new techniques and discovering ‘secrets’ about fine cuisine. He also experienced cooking fusion Indian-Peruvian foods, as both usually use lots of spices.
‘Coming to Europe offered me additional opportunities to learn new cooking techniques and experience high quality local ingredients’, he mentions.
At Hilton he is managing a professional team where, he says, ‘good atmosphere is everything. I need to feel comfortable in the kitchen, I am not the boss; I am part of my team. We cook together, make authentic food together and always add a little bit of magic to it’.
He says his favorite dish is Peruvian Ceviche, a spicy food which he prepared even for royal guests at Blueblood restaurant. When talking about his local guests, he says that ‘Dutch people like to go out to eat a lot, and they like doing it in style. They like good food and quality wines and they are always eager to try new foods, they also like spices’.
He is proud of his national heritage. He says: ‘one of my main goals is to present Peruvian food to the world because it has a lot of history and it is so rich in ingredients. Peru has more than 2000 different kinds of chilly, 200 different types of potatoes, there is a lot to discover and experiment’.
Because of that, he had the idea of a Peruvian Food Festival at Hilton. He has done similar projects in Abu Dhabi, in cooperation with the Peruvian Consulate.
‘In The Hague, I presented the idea to the Peruvian Ambassador, H. E. Marisol Flavia Aguero Colunga, who was very receptive and immediately agreed to participate to it. We are planning the event together’.
The event, with more than 20 different traditional Peruvian and Nikkei inspired dishes on the menu, is expected to be attended by around 100 guests, hosted by Hilton’s exquisite BlueBlood Restaurant.
Chef Rojas hopes that this will become an established annual event which will attract many people and will bring Peruvian food to everyone’s attention.
It surely deserves that!