Chef Ferran Adrià, the Spanish chef whose name is said with such hushed reverence in the upper echelons of gastronomy, has a new-found culinary inspiration that will be the theme of his next restaurant: Nikkei cuisine.
It’s the fusion of his two greatest culinary interests: Japanese food and his latest obsession, Peruvian fare.
Adrià, whose now-shuttered restaurant El Bulli topped the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list five times, has made no secret that his favourite cuisine and biggest inspiration is Japan.
And a trip to Peru last year fired up the chef’s imagination — a cuisine that is quickly on the way to becoming a global food trend thanks to the celebrity star power of chef ambassador Gastón Acurio, the Jamie Oliver-equivalent of Latin America.
But it’s not just Acurio’s rapidly expanding restaurant empire that is behind the growing popularity of Peruvian cuisine. It’s also the rich heritage of a cuisine that’s described as a complex, cross-pollination of cultures influenced by the Japanese and Chinese diasporas that spawned Nikkei — Japanese and Peruvian cuisine — and Chinese and Peruvian, or Chifa cuisine.
‘Adrià to put Peru on the map’
In an interview with Peruvian newspaper El Comercio, Adrià said he planned to put Peru on the map and champion the merits of the country through its food, working alongside Acurio as another unofficial ambassador.
At his new Nikkei restaurant, vegetables native to Japan and Peru will take the spotlight, he tells El Comercio. Adrià says so far he’s selected 10 vegetables from each country that will, presumably, undergo the kind of kitchen alchemy that made Adrià lead a movement of molecular gastronomy that drew faithful disciples such as René Redzepi, Grant Achatz, Andoni Luis Aduriz and José Andrés into the fold.
And why Nikkei? Because it would allow him more creative freedom, he said, with dual cuisines to work with. Moreover, Nikkei fare was still developing, he added, suggesting there was opportunity to help mould the emerging cuisine.
Other details he shared with the paper included the fact that the dining room would be staffed with a Peruvian and the kitchen staffed by a Japanese woman.
While no opening date has been set, the 30-seat eatery will be located beside his tapas restaurant Tickets in Barcelona and be run along with his brother Albert.