Gastón Acurio, chef, writer, entrepreneur and one of the most important promoters of Peruvian gastronomy in the world, started his culinary career in 1989 after dropping out of the Universidad Complutense of Madrid. He’d been studying Law - trying to fulfill his family's expectations - but enrolled instead into the Escuela de Hostelería de Madrid.
After two years of living and studying in Madrid, he travelled to Paris to start his degree at Le Cordon Bleu. Here he met Astrid Gutsche, who later became his wife. In 1994, a year after returning to his home city of Lima, the pair opened their first restaurant: Astrid&Gastón.
Astrid&Gastón initially bore evidence of the teachings that the culinary couple had received: the menu consisted mainly of classic French dishes. As time went by, they started experimenting with Peruvian preparations and ingredients, and, little by little, started a new trend.
As the years passed, Acurio and his wife opened Astrid&Gastón franchises in Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Spain. They also created, and later expanded, brands like La Mar, Tanta, Panchita, Chicha, Madam Tusan, Bachiche and Papacho’s. Astrid&Gastón made it into the top 20 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list for three consecutive years, and second and 15th places for Astrid&Gastón and La Mar, respectively, in the Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants. Acurio now has a presence in 11 countries around the world, with nine different brands and a total of 45 restaurants.
Acurio has also published several different books, such as Peru, Una Aventura Culinaria; Larousse de la Gastronomía Peruana;500 Años de Fusión (elected the best cookbook in gastronomy by the Gourmand World Cookbook in 2008); Cebiche Power; Edén.pe: 21 revelaciones para el mundo, written in collaboration with Ignacio Medina and Ferran Adrià; and the English-language Peru: The Cookbook.
In 2007, Acurio founded the first school for cooks and servers directed to low-income youths in Pachacutec, Ventanilla, Callao. He also created APEGA, the Peruvian Gastronomy Society, and organised the first International Gastronomic Fair of Lima, which is now known as Mistura and is one of the most popular and most visited in South America.
Acurio has also directed and hosted for over ten years a cable television show called Aventura Culinaria. He has had the starring role in the shows Cebiche con Sentimiento and En Busca del Cebiche Perfecto, as well as in the documentaries Peru Sabe. La cocina, arma social, and Buscando a Gastón.
Throughout his career, Acurio has been awarded many honors, including: entrepreneur of the year by the magazine América Económica in 200; the Prince Claus of Holland Award in the category "Collective memoirs and journalism"; named a good will ambassador for Unicef in 2009. In 2013 he was presented with the World Gastronomy Award in Sweden, given to him for his work promoting sustainable gastronomy, the use of local native ingredients and for his Pachacutec School. A year later he received homage in his Alma Mater, Le Cordon Bleu Paris.
Today, Acurio divides his time between his many restaurants, the creation of new brands, the promotion of Peruvian cuisine around the world, and in the creation of a Culinary University in a joint effort with the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Peru.