Part one- a memory
Walking through those long wooden makeshift restaurants on the coast of Lima, built on docks, hundreds of vendors pulling your hands and arms in every direction to sell you a piece of their countries soul. This is near Barranco, on the water. Old men making nets and stray dogs sleeping on their work. Cevicherias are abundant here. As is the Cusquena and canchas. I managed my way to several of these stands and picked up a strong grasp for the language of Peruvian Ceviche. One language that I will not soon forget.
Part two- a seed
With the romance of Peruvian cuisine fresh on my lips I promised to one day grow this corn. It was used in abundance and corn like I have never seen or tasted. Choclo is the name with dramatic giant kernels randomly placed on the cob. Chewy, slightly starchy texture in an amazing and complicated way. I managed to bring some home and dry for seed not knowing that very soon I would be working at the worlds most incredible vegetable farm called The Chefs Garden.
Part three- inspiration
Many dishes and many more memories will come from these seeds which now take on the form of 95 plants. We’ve decided to take on a lesson in companion planting and the classic Native American three sisters has turned into six or seven. Choclo corn, Casse Violet, Scarlet Runner, and Asparagus beans planted alongside Amaranth, Rouge vif d’Etampes (an heirloom pumpkin from France) Red Quinoa, Goosefoot, and Purslane. All of these plants play a role in the garden for each other for their successes. This is a lesson for another day.
Hamachi Ceviche. Aji Amarillo and sweet corn curd. pop corn. raw corn. Piment d’Espelette.