"What no-body knows is that my passion for food started when I was six. Together with Juana, the voluptuous family cook who was also my best friend, I would combine two kilos of purple corn with two pine- apple slices, a cinnamon stick, sugar, and water and make buckets of chicha morada (a drink invented by the Incas that is still served in Peruvian markets). Then we'd gather forgotten tables and chairs from the garage and sit in the front door under the olive trees until sunset: 'Chichaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, chichaaaaaaaaaaaaa, rica chicha, dos soles chicha...' Every day by 4 p.m. the chicha was finished and Gastoncito, the little fat boy from 274 San Isidro, would count soles—preparing for the next journey to the market, dreaming of tender chicken wings and fresh fish. Sadly, to this day I regret (God forgive me!) not having paid royalties to Juana, the author of the famous chicha morada recipe— my first recipe and the seeds of my first restaurant."
Gaston Acurio owns 11 restaurants, including the acclaimed Astrid y Gaston in Lima.