Speech given by Gastón Acurio at the opening ceremony for the 2006-07 academic year at the University of the Pacific, March 2006 in Lima.
“While we may believe Peru’s natural resources have been ablessing, history has shown us otherwise.
At one time we had a rubber boom, then it was guano, and now it is minerals. But, when resources run out and the boom times come to an end, we faceuncertainty, which can lead to a weakened democracy and give rise to leaders of dubious merits.
Clearly, a country’s growth, stability, and wealth are not due solely to its natural resources.
Moreimportant is what a country produces with those resources. For example, Switzerland purchases cocoa and gold to make chocolate, jewelry, and watches. Japan and Korea buy minerals and turn them intoautomobiles and appliances.
Those countries, in fact all industrialized nations, understand that great wealth is not obtained solely by generic products, but by quality brands which are then exportedglobally.
From cocoa, Switzerland produces Nestlé; from gold, Rolex. Japan transfoms minerals into Toyota and Nissan; Korea into Samsung. On an individual level, Howard Shultz buys coffee worldwideand brews us Starbucks.
Until recently, Peruvian food was simply a resource. It is beloved by all Peruvians, a source of pride for us, and appreciated by foreigners on trips to Peru.
But,Peruvian cuisine also has great potential to be exported worldwide. However, to do so, the different types of Peruvian cuisines and culinary concepts need to be valued, and then framed conceptually.
Thereare immense opportunities to take concepts from our local environment and transform them into global brands.
In Peru, we have cocina criolla (traditional coastal cuisine), pollerías(Peruvian-style roast chicken), chifas (Peruvian-Chinese restaurants), cocina novoandina (nouvelle Andean cuisine), Arequipa-style picanterías (traditional eateries in the style of Arequipa), anticucherías...
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