Dutch chefs discover Andean roots and tubers

During a tour of the Center’s Biodiversity Complex, the chefs were intrigued by the extensive variety of tuber colors and shapes on display there for them to look at and handle. There were even some chefs who doubted that some of the more whimsical looking varieties were edible. Potato research scientists Alberto Salas and René Gómez were on hand to answer each of the chef’s questions, and biologist Ivan Manrique described the biodiversity of the nine other Andean root and tuber crops held at the complex.

André Devaux, coordinator of the Papa Andina initiative, explained the process for placing new products on the market, successfully linking research into native potato varieties with the development of opportunities for the farmers and communities that produce them.

Chuño, a freeze dried potato flour, was another of the products that attracted much attention from the visitors. Moshik Roth, Israeli chef and owner of the Michelin starred restaurant T Brouweskolkje, said he used freeze dried products in some of his dishes, never imagining that the technique had been developed in its natural form by the Incas.

The chefs decided to come to Peru in recognition of its ancient culinary traditions, to experience first hand the country’s flavors, and to discover the roots and identity of its traditional and fusion cuisine. They also visited the Potato Park in Cusco.

In addition to Roth, other members of the delegation were Eric van Loo, Akira Oshima, Dick Middelweerd, Henk Savelberg and Gus Vredenburg, along with other Dutch gourmet cuisine entrepreneurs.