Peruvian chef Gastón Acurio will be given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the folks behind the first-ever Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants list, which will be presented in Lima on September 4th. A spokesperson for the list calls Acurio "a culinary giant, who more than deserves this fitting accolade." Acurio's Astrid y Gastón is currently number 14 on the World's 50 Best List — the highest-ranked restaurant in Latin American — and surely this award portends a high placement for him on the regional list as well. The first Asia's 50 Best list was announced in February; no word on whether S. Pellegrino plans to continues regionalizing the list (say Europe's 50 Best Restaurants or North America's 50 Best Restaurants, etc.) or if it's stopping with these two. Below, the press release.
GASTÓN ACURIO RECEIVES THE DINERS CLUB® LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD COMMENCING THE LATIN AMERICA'S 50 BEST RESTAURANTS SPONSORED BY CUSQUEÑA CELEBRATIONS 2013
Lima, Peru, July 30th 2013. Today, Gastón Acurio was named as the winner of The Diners Club® Lifetime Achievement Award for 2013 by the organisers of Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants sponsored by Cusque?a.
The Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants List will be announced at an awards ceremony to be held for the first time in Lima, Peru on the 4th of September 2013. The Awards are organised by William Reed Business Media, the organisers of The World's 50 Best Restaurants and Asia's 50 Best Restaurants.
The Diners Club® Lifetime Achievement Award is voted for by The Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants Academy, a group of over 250 industry experts from across the region. The honour of this award recognises the fundamental contribution Acurio has made to Peru's culinary industry and national identity across Latin America.
William Drew, of William Reed Business Media, says: "Since his original restaurant Astrid y Gastón opened in Lima in 1994, Gastón Acurio's mission has been to emphasise simple Peruvian-Mediterranean cooking and rebuild what he calls 'the strong relationship between the fields and the city'. Now, his gastronomic and cultural influence stretches around the world - with restaurants from Bogotá to Madrid and New York. Gastón Acurio is a culinary giant, who more than deserves this fitting accolade."
"Chef Acurio is a true leader and has helped establish Latin America's place within the international fine dining scene. The Diners Club® Lifetime Achievement Award celebrates his many accomplishments and also recognises his talent and distinct contributions to this wonderful region. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants and introducing our card members to the best of the best in fine dining around the world" said Eduardo Tobon, President of Diners Club International.
Acurio, over the course of his 20-year career, has become one of Latin America's leading chefs and industry figureheads. His flagship restaurant, Astrid y Gaston in Lima, made its debut on The World's 50 Best Restaurants List in 2011. In 2013 Astrid y Gaston was awarded the Highest Climber Award, sponsored by Gaggenau, and ranked No.14 on The World's 50 Best Restaurants List, reflecting the rapid and growing recognition of Acurio's talents internationally.
The Organization Acurio Group founded by Acurio today includes 33 restaurants in 12 countries, spearheading the growth in popularity of Latin American cuisines across the continents.
Initially trained and skilled in French cuisine, Acurio returned to Peru early in his career to focus instead on Peruvian food and explore the culinary heritage of his home country. He continues to experiment with Peruvian ingredients, often referencing Andean and Amazonian culinary traditions: "The world is finally discovering and learning about the language of Peruvian cuisine, fear has been lost and creative energy has been released, "explains Acurio.
Presentation of The Diners Club® Lifetime Achievement Award to Acurio recognises not just his commercial and restaurant endeavours but his undeniable commitment to the next generation of Peru's hospitality industry. Among other projects, he is the main support behind the Pachacutec Cooking School in Peru. The school is located in one of the poorest areas of Lima, offering disadvantaged youth the opportunity to create a future in the world of hospitality.
Acurio has also published 20 books with his most recent publication, "500 Years of Fusion", recognised at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2008. He also has a successful TV career and will host the Peruvian version of Master Chef this year
Gastón Acurio says: "This award represents many people. It represents the people who initiated the way forward and those who over the centuries built what is now our culinary tradition. It represents people across the land, across the sea, in restaurants and in their homes that bring to life our culture every day with pride, creativity and commitment. It also represents those who are prepared for and dream about a tomorrow with conscience and awareness of the opportunities and responsibilities that this moment demands. The Peruvian and Latin American voices, noble, peaceful and sweet sound again worldwide. The challenges ahead are enormous but this story has only just begun."
Acurio will be presented with The Diners Club® Lifetime Achievement Award at the inaugural awards ceremony for Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants in Lima, Peru on the 4th September 2013. Results of the list will be published online as they are announced to the assembled chefs and guests. The awards will be published live at www.theworlds50best.com/latinamerica/en/.