America's taste for ethnic food is ravenous. But could it be that John Q Public is ready for Peruvian food? Yes, according to Bon Appetit, which recently declared it the next hot cuisine. If that holds true, then Emmanuel Villaran will be at the forefront. At age 33, the chef of Andina in Portland, OR, is turning heads with his novoandina cuisine, which fuses Peruvian culinary traditions with European technique.
A former painter, Villaran was among a movement of avant-garde chefs in Lima, Peru, who sought to reinvent the country's ancient cuisine. He also pushed the envelope in San Sebastian, Spain, where he apprenticed at the three-Michelinstar restaurant, Arzak.
At Andina, Villaran's forwardthinking dishes include crispy scholar fish and mango-shrimp "ravioli," drizzled with a spicy rocoto pepper-passion fruit syrup, ginger and chive oil. He also dabbles with new-age tapas, which he serves in Mestizo, an adjoining bar that also features seasonal hams, sliced tableside and served on fresh rolls with Latin condiments. Gourmet raved about Villaran's seviches, including a sashimi-like offering ("step aside, Nobu, Andina's are better"). Maybe Peruvian food is the next big thing.