Ronal is a chef from the city of Cusco in Peru. Some time ago he decided to give up his technical career as an engineer for a job he is really passionate about: cooking. During his culinary career, he has had the opportunity to work with the best chefs and bartenders in the country, learning cooking techniques used in the best restaurants in Peru. He enjoys teaching and showing his culture to everyone. That's why he started giving cooking courses. During my (Dafne) trip to Peru I attended one of these cooking classes and it was quite an experience. Ronal told us all about Peruvian food and the stories behind it and he taught us to prepare delicious authentic dishes.
The cooking class starts in the local market in Cusco. On our way to the market, Ronal tells us more about the history of Peruvian food culture. He explains that Peruvian food culture consists of Peruvian ingredients but with techniques from other countries. Due to the large number of migrants, the way of cooking is strongly influenced by, among others, Asian, Spanish and African cuisine. This makes Peruvian cuisine very diverse.
Due to the large number of migrants, the way of cooking is strongly influenced by, among others, Asian, Spanish and African cuisine. This makes Peruvian cuisine very diverse.
When we walk into the market, we are amazed. We have never seen so many varieties of potatoes and corn and there is
a wide range of fruits that we do not know yet. At every stall, Ronal can tell an interesting or funny background story. In this way we discover that Peruvians are very (super) religious people. Due to Spanish colonialism, the majority are Roman Catholic, but the Inca faith is also still strongly present. Many Peruvians consider nature as a living being. The land and the air, they say, have forces that must be treated well. This is also reflected in the food culture. Behind every kind of potato, spice or animal is a certain superstition. For example, you can eat certain quinoa for a better chance of a large family and a pig brings good luck to your graduation. Ronal does not really believe in this. He mainly cooks and eats what he likes.
Behind every kind of potato, spice or animal is a certain superstition.
On the way to his cooking studio we pass a stall with guinea pigs. This used to be eaten because there were no other animals in Peru besides guinea pigs, alpacas and llamas. Now that many different types of animals are eaten, this is still a popular dish among the locals. Luckily this was not on the menu for today. Instead, Ronal taught us how to make lomo saltado, a Peruvian quinoa salad, Papa a la huancaina and the national drink pisco sour. All four were delicious! We can share the recipe for the quinoa salad and papa a la huancaina with you on Smaack. Besides that you should definitely try these recipes, we also recommend attending one of Ronal’s cooking classes. We booked it through Airbnb. A really great experience for when you are in Cusco.