The culinary force on respectfully tapping our natural world
Chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino is animated as he talks about the unconditional link between the quality of his ingredients, many from the Amazon, and the sustainable way they are produced. “We have to change the agricultural model. The Amazon fits into that perfectly because it is not intensive farming,” he says as staff rush around him, readying lunch at Malabar, his flagship restaurant in Lima, Peru. “It is an enormous space, the size of Australia, and the agriculture there can be small-scale and with incredible diversity. The Amazon’s natural pantry is the future.”
One of the handful of chefs who have spearheaded his country’s culinary boom of the last decade, Schiaffino has established a reputation for forging haute cuisine out of rainforest staples, often in staggeringly creative ways. He personally scours Peru’s most remote corners for new ideas and frequently visits the Amazon, where he has established long-term relationships with his suppliers. They range from artisanal fishermen to indigenous communities that grow everything from cassava to ají negro, a black chili pepper found only in the jungle.