In English, “Cena de Oro” is simply translated as “Gold Dinner”. And it’s the name given to one of the finest dining experiences you’ll find in South America. It’s so exclusive that it’s available only by special request and is not even publicly advertised. Coque Ossio – one of Peru’s leading chefs – is the host of this incredible gastronomic journey, and recent guests have included music legends Bono and Mick Jagger. In a one-on-one interview with Carlos Zevallos (Commercial Manager of the company Cusco Restaurants) more details about this culinary adventure were revealed.
I met with Carlos in the City of Cusco – the heartland of the Inca Empire. As I sipped on a cup of coffee he told me about the new dining experience that they had created. He commented, “Coque Ossio wanted to create the ultimate dining experience in Peru, something unique and something that combined Peru’s fascinating history with its incredible gastronomic scene”.
In conjunction with Cusco’s Museum of pre-Colombino Art (MAP Museum) the concept of the “Cena de Oro” was born. Set in the Gold Room of the museum and surrounded by genuine Inca artefacts, guests are invited to experience a 7-course meal designed to explore the many unique flavours and ingredients used in “novoandino cooking.”
Carlos explained a little more about what to expect, he said, “The meal has 7 food courses: an appetizer, 2 opening dishes, 3 main courses and 2 desserts. There is also great selection of some of Peru’s finest red and white regional wines. Furthermore, the meal is accompanied by the tranquil sounds of the Andean harp and flute.”
Widely recognised as one of Peru’s top chefs, Coque Ossio has demonstrated talent as a culinary entrepreneur, food stylist and teacher. Coque attended the Culinary Institute of America in New York and completed his externship with celebrity chefs Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Eric Ripert. He served two further apprenticeships in Italy at the Ristorante Alle Murate, and in Paris at the three-star Michelin restaurant L’Arpège. Nowadays, he is also the owner of several hugely successful restaurants in Lima and Cusco, a professor at Lima’s San Ignacio de Loyola University and a consultant for one of Peru’s leading luxury hotel chains.
Carlos summarized our meeting by commenting, “Combining 3000 years of archeological splendor at the MAP Museum with Peruvian flavors and cooking traditions is an experience as educational as it is unforgettable.” With a price-tag of US$ 375 per person it is certainly one of the more expensive meals you will find in Peru, but at only half the price of the Luxury Orient Express Hiram Bingham Train to Machu Picchu, it has to be worth considering!
Paul Jones is Managing Director of Totally Latin America.