From Copenhagen to La Paz

This article was also published in the Financial Times.   I have never yet devoted this column to a restaurant I have not previously eaten in. But such is my enthusiasm for the aspirations that lie behind Gustu in La Paz, Bolivia, which opened on 18 April and is already employing 30 young, marginalised Bolivians, that I trust I will be forgiven on this occasion. My interest in Gustu began over a plate of roast duck with sage and onion stuffing and a glass of Fontodi Chianti 2009 on the…






Brasil

Brasil – 2007 I accepted an invitation to speak on ‘The future of restaurants’ in São Paulo from Prazeres da Mesa, the dynamic Brazilian food and wine magazine, because I had heard from numerous sources about the rapidly rising quality and number of this city’s restaurants. There are now almost as many restaurants in Brazil’s biggest city as in New York (12,500 to the latter’s reputed 13,000). But there was an ulterior motive. A quick scan of the airline schedules meant that beforehand there was time to fly up to…






São Paulo

São Paulo – 2007 The food in São Paulo, a sprawling city of 20 million, initially struck me as a combination of what I had recently seen and eaten in Australia and the US. The connection to Australia is the vastness of each country which means that at any one time everything seems to be in season somewhere. The sight in a Sao Paulo street market of native strawberries that are in Europe a sign of spring and summer, next to pumpkins, a harbinger of winter, came as quite a…






Argentina

Argentina 2002 I fell in love with Argentinian food 25 years before visiting this fascinating country. This Damascene conversion took place early one evening in a friend’s flat when his Argentinian wife was spoonfeeding their young baby, dulce de leche or caramelized milk, the unctuously sweet compote that I now realise features on top of virtually every single Argentinian dessert. Whilst over 120,000 tons of dulce de leche are now produced commercially each year to satisfy the country’s sweet teeth, making your own is according to Gustavo Peyna, the talented…