Peruvians have always been crazy about their own food, but in recent years the world joined them on a voyage of discovery, as chefs started travelling around the world and spreading the gospel. Naturally, chef Nobu’s cook book published in 2001 contributed to the recognition of that kitchen, and the amazing success of his restaurants further introduced Peruvian elements to our culinary dictionary.
Enter Jan Van nes and his Peruvian born wife Roxanna Salinas.
Jan? Who doesn’t know Jan, currently the General Manager of Blue Residence Condo, and a kitchen apprentice with Chef Urvin Croes at the Kitchen Table by White. The later is his hobby, and he documents his adventures in the kitchen with Aruba’s famed chef, on Facebook.
Roxanna? For more than a decade, Aromi di Italia at Playa Linda Beach Resort was a great place for all-day dining and delicious ice-cream, under Roxanna’s watchful eye. Now due to some construction complication, the place got to move.
So Roxanna and Jan decided to reinvent themselves. As empty nesters, Roxanna now has more time on her hands to dedicate to her #2 love, cooking. You know what #1 is, I don’t have to explain, Jan and the kids, almost all grown, going to school in the Netherlands.
Thus Roxanna made a decision to go back to her roots and open Asi Es Mi Peru, at Paradise Beach Villas, at the former location of Camabola.
Asi Es Mi Peru will feature a genuine Peruvian Cevicheria where you can sit at the bar and watch the chef make your ceviche from scratch, to order. Ceviche, with fresh fish marinated in lime juice is the Peruvian national dish and it’s prepared with an assortment of just-caught seafood, tomatoes, tostada chips, crisp onion, salt and hot pepper, the world famous aji amarillo. The tart and salty ceviche is accompanied by sides of boiled corn or creamy sweet potatoes, and/or crunchy toasted corn, creating a symphony of tastes. The marinade called Leche De Tigre is addictive. Needless to say that the Cevicheria will also serve Tiradito, a variation of ceviche, reminiscent of Japanese sushi, also deliciously marinated with the smoky aji amarillo.
The restaurant gazebo, said Roxanna will also feature a genuine, colorful Peruvian market place, where you can buy typical Peruvian crafts, and a portion of the proceeds will regularly go to Aruba’s cancer foundation.
Inside the restaurant a more formal dining room will feature the food that made Peru famous, Lomo Saltado, a stewed beef, Aji de Gallina, a creamy chicken dish, and a number of typical preparations for potatoes, with Papas a la Huancaina and Causa, topping the list.
On the second floor a private dining room for special functions flaunts just one long community table, with fourteen seats, great for birthday parties or family gatherings.
Roxanne is a fan of classic Peruvian cuisine, she will be using family recipes, and the food will taste like grandma was in the kitchen all day, she promises.
In the process of hiring the chefs Roxanne interviewed over three hundred Peruvian professionals, taking a number of trips to the Land of the Incas to find just the right culinary wizards.
In the past weeks she has been experimenting with recipes in front of an appreciative crowd, feeding chef Urvin and Jan a steady diet of ceviche, aji de gallina and carapulca. Chef Urvin is the tasting judge, and he is overjoyed by the idea that finally someone is cooking for him. He thinks it’s fantastic.
Bottom line: Peruvian cooking is AWESOME!
Standby for the opening of Asi Es Mi Peru at Paradise Beach Resort soon