Chef Atsushi Tanaka has traveled all the way to MIL restaurant in Peru, to re-join his friends Pia León and Virgilio Martinez, for a unique four-hands dinner cooking with the World’s Best Female Chef 2021 and current head chef at restaurants Kjolle and Central, World’s Best Restaurant 2023 according to The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list
- Chef Tanaka has spent 2 days with the MIL and Mater teams, learning about their latest techniques such as ancestral preservation of native tubers, local medicinal plants and their usage in cooking, visiting the new lab of Mater beverage department and sampling unique spirits developed with Andean plants, roots and fruits.
- August has a very special meaning in the Sacred Valley, as it marks the beginning of the year in the Inca calendar, coinciding with the start of agricultural activity. It represents a new beginning for local communities, a time to predict the future harvest and agricultural activities.
- Throughout his sojourn, Chef Tanaka was in a perpetual quest for inspiration. Experimenting with novel ingredients, he meticulously crafted a bespoke menu for the grand event, constantly tweaking and perfecting it based on his experiences.
- The culmination of his exploration and innovation was a menu that paid homage to the Sacred Valley’s current dry season. It was a testament to Chef Tanaka’s insatiable curiosity and profound reverence for the Moray landscape.
- Among the pièce de résistance of his offerings was “Moray Camouflage”, a signature dish from A.T. Paris. However, this rendition drew deeply from the Moray terrain. The dish featured mountain lake trout, smoked to perfection with chincho herb, complemented by macambo bean praline, and covered with crisps and sauce infused with aji — the local paprika variant.
Moray, August 13th 2023. Chef Atsushi Tanaka met Pia León and Virgilio Martínez back in 2019, during his first visit to Central restaurant. Only two years later, in 2021, chef Martínez invited Tanaka to Lima, for a special 4-hands lunch for a selected number of guests and journalists, at his wife’s restaurant Kjolle. Last night, Pia León welcomed back chef Atsushi Tanaka, this time for a four-hands dinner with her, at MIL restaurant in Moray.
Tanaka’s passion for Latin America does not come unnoticed. Every summer, he crosses the Atlantic Ocean to meet friends and colleagues, looking for inspiration and experiences that will enrich his proposal back at home. The originality of Central’s concept, vision and proposal, along with the exchange of ideas with chef Martinez, stimulated Atsushi Tanaka’s creativity and emboldened his work philosophy.
In fact, AT’s current summer desert Marigold and Peach was inspired by the herb huacatay which he tasted while visiting Moray and which reminded him of the flavour of these two fruits. This way, the dessert is made up of different textures and shapes ranging from sorbet to crème, granita, meringue and petit cake.
In April 2014, Chef Tanaka opened his first restaurant, A.T, in the city of Paris, just a stonecast away from the bank of the Seine and the Notre Dame Cathedral, in the very vibrant Latin Quarter. Almost ten years later, he cooked at MIL Restaurant (Moray, Peru) with Pia León, World’s Best Female Chef 2021 and current head chef at Kjolle (#28 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants ranking), and The World’s Best Restaurant, Central.
Chef Tanaka visited MIL restaurant in Moray last year and still considers it “the most incredible and emotional dining experience. The local artisans from the neighbouring communities of Kacllaraccay and Mullak’as-Misminay, the ancestors of the Quechua people in the Andes, the nature, the local flavours left an unparalleled impression.”
On her side, the host chef León shared that she was “very excited because it is a friendship of several years, really happy to receive him at Mil and have a day where we can share, learn and enjoy together. The fact of being very connected with nature, the product and its environment. Being in MIL, surrounded by diversity, lots of color, is the perfect setting for this experience”.
Throughout his sojourn, Chef Tanaka was in a perpetual quest for inspiration. Experimenting with novel ingredients, he meticulously crafted a fresh menu for the grand event, constantly tweaking and perfecting it based on his experiences.
The culmination of his exploration and innovation was a menu that paid homage to the Sacred Valley’s current dry season. It was a testament to Chef Tanaka’s insatiable curiosity and profound reverence for the Moray landscape.
Among the pièce de résistance of his offerings was “Moray Camouflage”, a signature dish from A.T. Paris. However, this rendition drew deeply from the Moray terrain. The dish featured mountain lake trout, smoked to perfection with chicho herb, complemented by macanbo praline, and cloaked in crisps and sauce infused with aji — the local paprika variant.
The menu consisted of eight moments, with three dishes from the host chef, and five new creations from chef Tanaka inspired by the vast biodiversity of Peruvian ingredients found in the extreme altitudes of the Sacred Valley and the – non-Amazonian – local rainforests. Among them, “Lamb tartare served under the cacao mucilage with mountain flowers and cacao nibs crisps”; “Llama kunuca”, llama grilled on the charcoal and smoked with kunuca and served with Flatbread taco of Ollucos and llama meat; or the dessert “Cherimoya”, featuring leaves, ice-cream, meringue and mashumaro of Hucatay.
On this special night, even the bread was made with local muja herb, and served with Andean sauce uchucuta.
About Atsushi Tanaka
Brought up in Japan, trained between Spain and Scandinavia, and finally established in France, Chef Atsushi Tanaka’s cuisine is nor from one place, nor from the other. But it is precisely this international background and Japanese heritage that makes it one-of-a-kind. He is in fact a no-land’s chef.
Coming across a book by Pierre Gagnaire at a very young age fueled Tanaka’s passion for cooking and inspired him to become a chef. After some work experience in his native country and in the cities of Osaka, Ginza and Tokyo, he embarked on a globetrotting journey working with the most avant-garde chefs around the world, with stops in Spain, The Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden. His career has taken him all the way from Pierre Gagnaire in Paris, to Quique Dacosta in Alicante, Pastorale, Sergio Herman, and Slius, as well as to the most renowned Scandinavian restaurants including Geranium in Copenhagen, Frantzen and Oaxen Krog in Stockholm.
Tanaka’s multicultural training and international exposure makes him a unique and non-
conformist chef with its own gastronomic identity, which is influenced by French culinary
techniques and his Japanese heritage, that he presents through his highly aesthetic creations.
Cultural diversity can be perceived in every detail of his proposal, merging together to write up a poem for the palate, for the eyes, and for the soul. But beyond being a chef, Atsushi Tanaka is an artist, a poet of the senses. He has freed himself from any labels to conceive his own form of culinary art, combining dynamism and endurance in equal measure.
Despite a self-limitation on the use of ingredients to maintain pureness in his dishes as he looks for a creative challenge, beauty is intrinsic in him and thus must be translated into each verse of his menu. For such, he explores three terroirs that merge together inside the walls at A.T. ‘s kitchen: arts, lyrics and crafts.
About A.T. Restaurant
In April 2014, Chef Tanaka opened his first restaurant, A.T, in the city of Paris, just a stonecast away from the bank of the Seine and the Notre Dame Cathedral, in the very vibrant Latin Quarter.
Barely a year after opening its doors, A.T. was nominated as “One of the coolest places to eat in 2015” by Forbes Magazine. In 2022 the restaurant received its first Michelin star and chef Tanaka has been ranked No.94 in the Best Chef’s award list 2022.
This hidden treasure in the heart of Paris welcomes twenty diners to enjoy an ever-changing single set menu in an intimate and elegant setting. The single set tasting menu at A.T, changes regularly based on the ingredients available in nature and in season, making every visit to Tanaka’s as unique as the first one. Each dish on the menu tells a different story, encapsulating Tanaka’s international culinary journey and his idea of being in harmony with nature and with the seasonality of ingredients.
Tanaka creations are aesthetically distinct and embody a poetic mix of different flavours, colors and textures. His single set tasting menu, composed of 13 steps, is rounded up by a diligent selection of organic and natural wines that sommelier Thibaut Simon constantly adjusts to highlight the ingredients of each dish.
About Pia León
Pia Leon’s trajectory began more than 15 years ago, when she led the kitchen at Central, recognized multiple times as the Best Restaurant in Latin America, and currently ranked #2 at World’s 50 Best Restaurant.
While co-directing the kitchen of Central and MIL, together with her husband Virgilio Martínez, Pia is chef-owner of her signature concept, Kjolle.
Her curiosity beyond the product, sensibility for human connection, and appreciation for the handcraft has put Pia in the spotlight worldwide.
Through Mater Iniciativa, the interdisciplinary research center, co-directed together with Malena and Virgilio Martínez, Pia finds a way to go beyond indigenous produces, connecting art, culture and ancient knowledge, building a platform to communicate Peruvian megabiodiversity.
WARMI, (women in quechua) is a self-managed workshop for experimentation and preservation of traditional dyeing techniques, integrated by a group of women from the neighbouring indigenous communities of MIL.
With the aim of spreading the introductory technique to Andean braiding, Alejandra Ortiz together with the community wove a khipu in the town of Moray, Cusco.
Pia´s work has been celebrated since then; In 2018 as Latin America´s Best Female Chef and in 2021 as the World´s Best Female Chef. She has been invited to participate in projects such as the Netflix show by Michelle Obama, and to be part of the Science and Cooking program of Harvard University.
Looking to the future, Pia continues to challenge herself and inspire others. Her natural leadership and commitment to her team recently led her to be invited by the Basque Culinary Center to be part of the renowned international council, where she is sure to make a lasting impact.
About Kjolle Restaurant
Kjolle (Buddleja Coriacea), pronounced KOY-ay, is a tree that grows in the highlands of the Peruvian Andes, from 3200 meters above sea level. The bright yellow flowers are characterized by their dyeing properties. Pia Leon was inspired by the flower to create her restaurant in Lima.
Kjolle, is a modern restaurant in the trendy Barranco district of Lima, Peru. Housed in the former cultural center Casa Tupac, Kjolle shares its space with Central and Mater, and features an open-plan kitchen that provides full views of Pia León and her team at work. The airy dining room showcases furniture, ceramics, and textiles that are handcrafted in collaboration with local artisans.
Kjolle’s dishes offer a kaleidoscopic taste of Peru’s countless ingredients, with the nine-course tasting menu exploring all corners of the country. Highlights include sea bass with razor clams, a selection of tubers such as yucca, olluco, and potato, and cured duck with squid, onion, and kañiwa, a grain similar to quinoa. The restaurant also offers a vegetarian tasting menu and à la carte options.
Since its inception, Kjolle has been recognized with numerous accolades. In 2020, Forbes named it the Coolest Place to Eat, while Conde Nast included it on its list of The 40 Most Beautiful Restaurants in the World. Currently, Kjolle is ranked in the top 10 of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants, and is ranked as #28 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list (2023). Kjolle has also travelled abroad, with a pop-up in NYC, as Pia Leon and her team aim to expand their reach and showcase their culinary prowess to new audiences.
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4 Rue du Cardinal Lemoine
Tel: +33 (0)156819408
Open Tuesday to Saturday
Lunch from 12h30 to 13h30
Dinner from 19h30 to 21h30
Micaela Muro-Lara – email@example.com – M. +34 644 121 645