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Master Chef Argentina Season 2 Kicks Off With Tears

By Dan Perlman

[Master Chef Argentina]

[Master Chef Argentina]

Masterchef is often viewed, particularly by those of us in the restaurant world, as a sort of ugly stepchild of the Top Chef franchise. But it really isn’t – first off, the original Masterchef, the UK version, was around years before the first episode of Top Chef was ever dreamt of, having first been broadcast in 1990. But there’s no question that the MC franchise has engendered more national spinoffs than any television cooking competition in history – actually, probably than any television competition of any sort. And it doesn’t have a set format – each national version takes their own approach, from the matter of fact, stiff upper lip British version, to the fun and games and demonstration classes of the Australian, to the American Idol-esque US approach.

Gastón Acurio Was Robbed In Plain Daylight Over The Weekend (ES)

By Patrick Hieger

[El Comercio]

[El Comercio]

Last Friday, while on a visit to surprise Julio César Távara Siancas, the internet sensation who has become known as the Ninja of the Limes, Peruvian chef Gastón Acurio’s truck was robbed as he was giving a ceviche cart to the young chef so he might expand his ceviche offerings. Just five meters away, a number of ‘seasoned thieves’ managed to rob all of the contents of Acurio’s truck and flee without ever being noticed. Aside from a post released on Saturday via Facebook, the chef has refrained from all comments regarding the incident.

Here’s Part 1 Of Vice’s ‘Being Frank’ In Peru (ES)

By Patrick Hieger

[Munchies / Vice]

[Munchies / Vice]

We’ve all been waiting with anticipation, and the day is finally here.  This morning, Vice’s Munchies posted part one of the two-part episode of Being Frank, which was filmed in various restaurants and locations throughout Peru.  The Franks, famous for their New York-based Frankie’s 457, and now for their culinary adventures filmed around the world, landed in Peru a few months back, and got a tour of the country’s culinary highlights with noted chefs like Virgilio Martínez, Gastón Acurio, and Pedro Miguel Schiaffino.  Needless to say, they saw the best the country has to offer.

In part one, go along with the Franks as they dive into the world of the brand new Astrid y Gastón Casa Moreyra.  Watch as they go diving with A y G chef Diego Muñoz, and get a taste of mountain algae, aka cushuro, with Virgilo Martínez.  This two-part series will undoubtedly shed some serious light on the incredible gastronomy that Peru and South America has to offer.  It just took a couple of Franks.

Latin America’s 50 Best 2014: The Results

By Patrick Hieger

photo(76)

Last night in Lima, Peru, in front of a packed house that included some of the top culinary talent from Latin America, the 2014 edition of the Latin America’s 50 Best restaurants awards were announced. It was a night of eager anticipation, waiting to see who would make it in, who would be dropping out, and who, at night’s end, would be number one. There were certainly some surprises, particularly when the top five changed entirely this year, many say for the better.  The awards this year did seem a good deal more balanced and even, highlighting a large pack of hot young talent that will continue to lead the region towards culinary greatness.

When Central took the number one spot of the evening, he didn’t take to the stage alone. He, along with his sister who manages the front of house, his sommelier Greg Smith, and his wife and chef de cuisine, Maria Pia Leon, received the award together highlighting the work they had done as a team to get to the top.  Although both Gastón Acurio and newly-minted head chef Diego Muñoz were on hand, neither took to the stage to receive their award.  Overall, it was a night full of smiles, hugs, and well wishes, even though many of the big names slipped one or more positions, replaced by newer restaurants.

The awards are based on anonymous votes from a group of more than 200 voters throughout Latin America.  While they will ultimately mean a massive surge in reservations, press and opportunities for each of the restaurants, the results are still based largely on opinion.

Below, the list in its entirety.  Now, on to Mistura. 

Here’s A Taste Of What To Expect At Ecuador’s Latitud Cero 2014 (ES)

By Patrick Hieger

[Latitud Cero]

[Latitud Cero]

Now in its third edition, this year’s version of Latitud Cero in Quito, Ecuador promises to bring even more surprises, big names, and insight into what we can expect from the nation’s burgeoning culinary movement.  In addition to this year’s incredible lineup of invited chefs that includes Enrique Olvera, Carlos García, and many more, there will be a market showing Ecuador’s bounty of national products, workshops, demos, and more.  In this video put together by the organizers, get a taste of what to expect, and why a festival like Latitud Cero is key to the development of yet another exciting cuisine in South America.  Registration is now open for the festival, which will take place October 1 to 5.

Video: The Origins Of Chile’s Beloved Barros Luco (ES)

By Patrick Hieger

[Horno Feroz / Pebre]

[Horno Feroz / Pebre]

In case you didn’t get the message, today is national Barros Luco day in Chile, and just like ‘el día del completo’ or any other special day, it’s mainly a reason to eat.  If you’ve never been to Chile, you might be confused by the variety of sandwiches and their different names, a good deal of which come from former political figures or other turns of chance, much like the Cobb Salad, and so on.  Fear not, though.  In these eight delcious minutes of HD footage full of sizzling steak, melting cheese, and toasted bread, Chile’s PEBRE give us some insight into the origins of the Barros Luco, its offshoots, and just why the sandwich deserves a day of its own.  Even better, PEBRE will be out today, Monday, at Confitería Torres, celebrating national Barros Luco day, so you might want to get in on that action.  It’s going to be delicious.

[photo: Como Sur]

New York Style Pizza In Santiago

By Patrick Hieger

[photo: Como Sur]

[photo: Como Sur]


As a whole string of new higher-end pizzerias opens up around Santiago, the guys behind Buffalo Waffles (a.k.a. the stuff that stoner dreams are made of) have brought pizza back to the street in the form of Central Pizza.  The New York-style pizza shop is located at Monjitas 608, in the heart of the Bellas Artes neighborhood.  They currently sell three styles of pizza by the slice: cheese, pepperoni, and vegetarian.  Two slices and a can of soda will run you $2.500 CLP.  Just like Buffalo Waffles, Central Pizza is take-out or stand up and eat only.  Let’s hope this trend of street-style food continues.

Mientras que muchas pizzerias de alto nivel siguen abriendo en Santiago, los tipos responsables para Buffalo Waffles (a.k.a. de lo que son hechos los sueños de ‘stoners’) han llevado pizza a la calle de nuevo en forma de Central Pizza.  La pizzería, al estilo de Nueva York, estea ubicado en Monjitas 608, en el corazón de barrio Bellas Artes.  Por ahora venden tres estilos de pizza, por ‘slice’: queso, pepperoni, y vegetariano.  Dos ‘slice’ y una bebida le cuesta $2.500 CLP.  Como Buffalo Waffles, Central Pizza es solo para llevar o a parar y comer.  Esperemos que sigue esta tendencia de comida callejera.

[image: Como Sur]

Where To Eat Now: São Paulo

By Mari Rodriguez

Deciding on where to eat in São Paulo can be a daunting experience. With so many cuisines, environments, and neighborhoods to choose from, it’s hard to wade through the options. Check out our list of restaurants not to be missed. From the heavy-hitters of haute cuisine and chic design, to the traditional and low-key, here’s where to eat right now in São Paulo. Bom apetite!

Mani
This one’s certainly at the top of the list now that Mani’s head chef Helena Rizzo just won the title of World’s Best Female Chef. Mani gives delightful twists to Brazilian ingredients and traditional dishes, with unexpected combinations like foie gras with goiabada (a guava conserve). We recommend the tasting menu to get a full spectrum of their offerings, although you can’t go wrong with a-la-carte, either.

D.O.M.
D.O.M. is an institution, not just in São Paulo but in the international dining scene. Consistently voted amongst the top ten restaurants in the world, Alex Atala’s restaurant pioneered avant-garde cuisine in Brazil. Atala is best known for sourcing diverse Brazilian ingredients like rare Amazonian herbs as the basis for stunning and mouthwatering dishes. The menu is only prix-fixe, of four or eight dishes.

Dalva e Dito
Alex Atala’s other restaurant in São Paulo, Dalva e Dito specializes in “down-home” Brazilian cooking. The best time to go is for their monthly galinhadas (R$59 per person), where guests enjoy this delicious chicken and rice stew typical from the interior of Brazil, followed by a party headed by some of the town’s most sought-after DJs.

Epice
Epice’s Alberto Landgraf rounds out the trifecta of São Paulo’s hot young chefs making big waves in haute cuisine. Landgraf’s menus use local ingredients and draw from the country’s diverse cultures, merging Brazilian dishes with Japanese or Italian techniques and flavors, for example. Our tip? Go for lunch and order the “Executive Menu,” a fantastic prix-fixe deal at R$49 for three courses. They don’t cut corners for lunch, so you’ll be sure to get a genuine taste of what has made this restaurant so renowned.

Kaá
Tucked away in the enormous thoroughfare of Avenida Kubitschek, this is easily one of the more stunning restaurants in the city. Kaá’s menu tilts towards Italian, particularly with its fresh pasta, risotto, and seafood dishes. Be it for a business meal or a date, this is one to make a lasting impression on your guest.

Attimo
With its “Italo-Brazilian” menu, Attimo encapsulates the mix of cultural backgrounds that make up the city of São Paulo. Be ready for creative reinterpretations of classic Italian dishes, Chef Jefferson Rueda’s ode to the way immigrants adapt food to their new surroundings. Although their lunch and dinner menus are solid, we recommend going with friends to try out the Bar Menu, featuring small plates and gourmet caipirinhas.

Hamatyo
One would be remiss to not include sushi restaurants in this list, with São Paulo’s incredibly rich Japanese community. Hamatyo is renowned for its “orthodox” approach to sushi—so don’t expect crunchy rolls with sriracha mayonnaise. Think of Jiro Dreams of Sushi: here one comes only for classic, delicate sushi and sashimi, each prepared for you by the head chef, Ryoichi Yoshida. This is an experience not to be missed.

Brasil a Gosto
Ana Luiza Trajano’s restaurant is a gem—known for her diligent, even erudite approach to cooking, Trajano heavily researches and presents traditional recipes from throughout Brazil, made with ingredients sourced in each respective area. You get a genuine taste of the incredible diversity of Brazilian cuisine, all in a quaint spot in Jardim Paulista.

Chez Oscar
Located on Oscar Freire, the most chic street of São Paulo, Chez Oscar is a new hot spot for its unique layout divided taking up four floors: it is a street café, a second-floor restaurant, and two different bars on the third and fourth floors. The menu is light, with salads, bruschettas, and other small plates, but let’s be honest: you’re here for the ambiance, the cocktails, and the astounding people watching.

Rothko
On the hipster side of things, there is Rothko in Vila Madalena. Complete with chalkboard menus and artisanal beers, Rothko certainly does not disappoint with its menu. It’s heavy on the meat side, and particular favorites include their pork belly sandwiches and their churrascos. A notable relatively newcomer to the scene.

Mocotó
A São Paulo institution, this one’s a bit off the beaten path but absolutely worth the trek. For those in the know, Mocotó is the go-to spot for traditional Brazilian meals and salgados (salty snacks). Their great selection of cachaças to wash it all down makes it all the better.

Bar Lanche Estadão
More often than not, you will find yourself at this no frills 24-hour spot after 2am. But trust us, their generous pernil (roasted fresh ham) sandwich on French baguette is fantastic no matter the time of day. But for a, say, more colorful experience, go after 2am!