Peru is a country that savors its sights. Every locale, no matter how out of the way, seems to offer some kind of unique fruit, species, or herb. A color, an aroma, a reason to linger there and take in the sensations without hurrying.
Peruvian cuisine is an art form, forged over the centuries by its cooks. In recognition of this, SUMMUM has conceived a new category to highlight that creativity: the award for Cuisine d’Auteur, an accolade that acknowledges talent, the constant drive to innovate and explore, summarizing and recreating each part of this marvelous land in a dish, a delicacy, an offering of beauty and flavor intertwined.
This new honor joins the award for Best Female Chef, which we debuted last year. Peru is not the only place where there is a need to raise women’s visibility in the kitchens of our finest restaurants, however. The phrase “Give my compliments to the chef” is commonly heard around the world, but often implicitly refers to the man responsible for the deliciously unique dining experience that the guest has just enjoyed. Indeed, this same guest may imagine, without thinking too hard about it, that it was a woman in charge of making his dessert.
Highlighting the creativity of those whose cooking has placed Peru’s name on the world’s menu. Helping to raise the visibility of women who are blazing new paths for Peruvian cuisine. These are important commitments for those of us who organize the SUMMUM awards, and we could only entrust decisions as important as these to expert food critics, who have brought their passion and intensity to their duty as jury members.
Far from being content with these achievements, however, we have set our sights even higher. We are proud to unveil the award for the Best Producer. The goal behind this acknowledgment is to shine a light on our farming traditions and native crops, to focus on the organizational skills among those who work the fields and preserve our biodiversity. To choose the winner of this award, we have called on a group of our most outstanding chefs, to whom we owe a very special thanks for their generous collaboration.
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank the sponsors who make the SUMMUM awards possible.
The formula used to determine the Summum Top 20 Ranking has been a closely guarded secret. Until now. This year, we finally revealed the process. The members of the Ipsos diners’ panel are first asked to indicate which categories of restaurant they have visited during the past year. Then, they must vote for their top three establishments in each of those categories. Finally, they are presented with the list of restaurants that were chosen as the best, and they are asked to select from among them those that offered the best food, the best service, and the best atmosphere.
Almost like mixing a good cocktail, the Top 20 is based on the perfect combination of ingredients in just the right proportion: 60% for best food, 20% for best service, and 20% for best atmosphere. Of course, these results are not the result of food critics’ opinions, but diners’ preferences. Peruvians have a highly developed palate, but, ultimately, the ranking reflects the predilections of our survey respondents with regard to types of food and their satisfaction with the experience as a whole.
The 2018 Top 20 Ranking includes six contemporary cuisine restaurants and five criollo restaurants, the two most competitive categories. However, it also includes three Nikkei food restaurants; three cebiche, fish, and seafood restaurants; two steakhouses and barbecue restaurants; and one Italian restaurant. It is worth noting that all three Nikkei restaurants rank among the top five, suggesting a telling trend in Peruvians’ preferences.
This was not always the case, though. When Summum first started, back in 2007, there was no Nikkei restaurant in the top 10. Of those who earned a spot in that initial ranking, only four restaurants—Astrid & Gastón, La Gloria, La Mar, and Rafael—are still in this year’s Top 20, accompanied by fourteen restaurants that have entered the ranking over the past ten years, and two that are appearing there for the first time. Indeed, the fact that half of this year’s Top 20 restaurants were not even around a decade ago is a clear indicator of just how dynamic the Peruvian food scene has become.