Week of Peruvian delights beginning this Sunday
June 05 2013 11:37 PM
Ambassador Florian, Sheraton assistant marketing manager Sara Chakri, and Urbina at the Latino Resta
Ambassador Florian, Sheraton assistant marketing manager Sara Chakri, and Urbina at the Latino Restaurant. PICTURE: Noushad Thekkayil

Some 35 Peruvian dishes will be featured in a week-long food festival from June 9 to 15 at the Latino Restaurant of Sheraton Doha Resort and Convention Hotel.
Coupled with live Latino music, the “The Art of Peruvian Gastronomy” will also introduce Chef Jorge Luis Urbina, who is expected to delight Qatar residents with the flavour of Peruvian cuisine.
The performers have also prepared 100 songs to entertain the audience.
For this event, Urbina will be preparing some of the traditional dishes, desserts and drinks.
“We have the ‘Ceviche’, where we put lime juice, onion, salt, pepper, corn and a bit of chili. It is every popular in Peru,” he said.
It is similar to Japan’s sushi but for the lime juice.
Another is “Causa”, a kind of mashed potato mixed with lime juice, salt, pepper and yellow chili paste. It is usually served with the main dish like meat, fish, and prawns.
“The idea is to cook the traditional food because it is hard to prepare all the dishes. Ingredients are not easy to find in Qatar,” he explained.
Some of the ingredients are from Lima like the yellow and Panca chili paste, but others are available here.
Urbina, a graduate of De Los Andres Institute of Gastronomy, has worked in top restaurants in Lima. For two years he was also with the Toro Toro restaurant at the Grosvenor House in Dubai.
Stressing the uniqueness of Peruvian cuisine, Ambassador to Qatar Julio Florian said that the chili they use is different from the chili of other countries like Mexico.
“I will say this with a lot of respect for Mexican food: the chili in Mexico is very hot. Our yellow and Panca paste compliments the flavour of the dishes, whether it has beef, chicken, fish, seafood, no matter what you are using,” he said. “It’s not spicy and not hot, it goes along the taste. You are not eating something that will burn your mouth.”
The secret, he says, is that seeds of the chili are removed.
He cited a report in The Economist in which Peruvian food was included in the top 10 best dishes in the world.
Besides the main course, Peru’s national drink called “Pisco Sour” will also be served.
For dessert, there is “Suspiro A La Limena”.
Florian also disclosed that this festival would be different from the two previous events held in 2011 and 2012 at the Diplomatic Club.
Previously chefs were brought in from Lima for two weeks.
This time Urbina will be staying in Doha.
The ambassador believes that through cultural events like food festivals, “you can build bridges between countries that may look very far geographically”.
Florian said: “But in reality we are very close, because when you taste our food you will find a lot of similarities.”
He said that Qataris who came for the last two festivals were surprised with the flavour: although separated by thousands of kilometres (20 hours of travel time by plane), the taste was familiar with them.
This is because of the fusion of food in Peru in the last five centuries.
Peruvian food has been influence by the Chinese.
In fact, Florian said, there are Chinese restaurants in every corner in Lima. – Joey Aguilar

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