After three long, painful, uncertain years, we find ourselves once again at the SUMMUM Awards. Given the obstacles that the tourism and culinary industries in our country have had to overcome, and those they still must face, we have a duty to aid in the acts of reinvention that this extraordinary, burgeoning sector needs to fully recover. In recognition of this fact, we are not only organizing a broad and inclusive event this year to honor and acknowledge all of the people involved in the process, which begins in the countryside and culminates at the tables of Peru’s most extraordinary restaurants, but we have decided to name our ceremony SUMMUM RESILIENCE.
For the site of our celebration, we chose the Huaca Pucllana, a wonderfully emblematic space that brings us back to our origins, evoking the trade and exchange of our native products and inspiring us to reinvent ourselves within an ancient imaginary where the entire industry, from farmers to chefs, can give free rein to their dreams.
This year, we are not only giving out awards to the best farmers, researchers, industry leaders, and chefs in our country; we are also giving special acknowledgment to one of the culinary entrepreneurs who managed to flourish during the pandemic, setting an outstanding example by facing adversity and prevailing.
The award for resilience was the toughest one to give out. Peru’s most famed culinary critics and the members of the Advisory Board for the SUMMUM Awards made a special effort to reach their decision. Each and every one of the cooks mentioned and highlighted in the 2022 SUMMUM guide faced problems and difficulties for which no one was prepared. Over the course of nearly two years of lockdowns, they fought for their staff, displaying incredible human qualities and creativity in the process. There are many magnificent, heartwarming stories worthy of recognition and applause.
As we walked the path of resilience, we have seen and savored innovations in delivery, entrepreneurs’ schools, dark kitchens, lines of home meal kits and sauces, stores, and much more. With all of them in our thoughts, we found the strength we needed to celebrate them once again.
It has been fifteen years since the first SUMMUM survey and awards ceremony in 2007. Since then, the Peruvian culinary industry has continued to evolve and spread around the world, although not without some setbacks, such as the strict lockdowns imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fact that only three of the major restaurants that were included in the Top 10 in 2017 are found in this year’s Top 20 —Astrid & Gastón, Rafael, and La Mar— is proof of just how dynamic the Peruvian restaurant business is. Some notable establishments have disappeared while others have changed hands or generations, but many new offerings have also emerged, even during the difficult years of the pandemic. Indeed, four new restaurants have broken into the 2022 Top 20.
Over the course of these fifteen years, the survey has also evolved to better capture the fluid reality of our country’s culinary world. This year sees the introduction of the Bakeries category, a niche that has grown a great deal in recent years. Meanwhile, the award that was previously given out for the Loreto region has been expanded to include the entirety of the Amazon region, covering establishments in Pucallpa and Tarapoto along with those of Iquitos. The survey experienced some initial difficulties this year due to the closure of some restaurants and the late reopening of others, but these challenges were ultimately offset by a record participation of 696 diners in the voting process.
As always, those who were asked to vote consisted of a group of knowledgeable habitués of the culinary scene, on the condition that they could only vote in those categories pertaining to restaurants in which they had eaten in the last twelve months. The question about new restaurants included only those that had opened at least six months before the survey was taken, to give enough diners a chance to try these new culinary offerings. Finally, as in previous years, the formula for determining the Top 20 ranking was based on responses to three questions, weighted as follows: 60 % for the best food, 20 % for the best service, and 20 % for the best ambience. Thus, the overall ranking is a reflection of voters’ satisfaction with the entire experience.