HAVING LINGERED IN MEXICO FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS, FOOD INNOVATION HAS NOW HITCHED A RIDE SOUTH AND IS CURRENTLY STEAMING THROUGH PERU, ARGENTINA AND BRAZIL. THIS MAY FEEL CONFUSING FOR THOSE OF US WHO STRUGGLE TO KEEP UP WITH CULINARY TRENDS BUT IT’S ACTUALLY BRILLIANT NEWS FOR THE FOODSERVICE AND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY.
Why? Because Latin American food is gloriously vibrant and diverse, with big bold flavours that restaurants are serving up with more than a flash of panache. Think chimichurra and pachamanca; pico de galla and pebre; ceviche and pescaditas. Say them aloud: even the names evoke Latin verve and chutzpah.
Another great thing about Latin cuisine is its diversity and adaptability. Because South America is such a massive cultural melting pot, its cuisine encompasses native Indian, African, Spanish, Asian and Caribbean influences. It’s a dream for foodservice because it works so harmoniously with other types of cooking and gives free rein to experimentation and innovation.
And within South America itself lies a rich seam of opportunity for chefs to exploit. Brazil has thousands of miles of coastline, making it a fish cook’s paradise. Peru’s restaurant scene has exploded, with the stars of the show ranging from traditional and peasant dishes to international fusion cuisine. Two restaurants in Peru are on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list .
The grassy plains of Argentina produce some of the best beef in the world but Argentinian cuisine goes beyond just its amazing steaks. Empanadas are neat little parcels of meat, cheese or corn and perfect for parties and picnics — a South American version of a Cornish pasty. Native Indian influences make the best use of healthy ingredients like squash, melons and sweet potatoes.
And there are many more Latin American countries from which to draw inspiration. This new destination of culinary diversity is almost a watchword for innovation. And where there’s innovation, you’ll find Eurest leading the way.