Pretending that all Spaniards know about Peruvian cuisine is not just a mistake, but a chimera. Despite being, along with the Mexican, the most internationally renowned Latin American cuisine, Peru’s gastronomy remains a little unknown to the great Spanish public.
For this reason, highlighting names like the chef Omar Malpartida (Huánuco, Peru, 1988), which Madrid knows well, is necessary to vindicate Peru. The curious thing is that he does it from Ibiza, where he works as a teacher in Maymanta, the most gastronomic restaurant of the five-star hotel Aguas de Ibiza (Santa Eulària des Riu, in the eastern part of the island).
Determined to put Peru on the table, not only in the recipes, but also in the ingredients, Malpartida even started the Manos Cruzadas foundation to help Peruvian producers to export to Spain. A job, says the chef, “rough and hard because they are very fresh products and it is also expensive”.
With this comes the irony that possibly the best Peruvian restaurant in Spain is not in a big city, but on a Balearic island that for a few years has been showing that there is another Ibiza outside the party and faithful to the table.
in between, Omar Malpartida talks about returns —or not— to the big circles, to make a personal mark or how to continue betting on Peru, leaving aside fusion, and showing the world that Peru is not just roasted chicken and ceviche, although, he remarks “they are very important and if they are good , are fabulous”.
Bet on Ibiza
With a Repsol sun at the door of Maymanta, top floor of the hotel Ibiza waters, and dominating the bay of Santa Eulària des Riu, Omar Malpartida is recognized as a devotee of the island. “He always welcomed us wonderfully, both the local client, who comes a lot, and the international client“, he assures.
It is not a figure of speech. Accents and languages merge in the Maymanta room, bright and with large windows from which to dominate the port of the city, in a kitchen that Malpartida has managed to make both gastronomic and fun.
“We have to know where we are and what people want. In Ibiza, people come on vacation and want good locations, have fun and eat well, and we give that in Maymanta”, explains the chef, who is already in his third season on the roof of this hotel, whose rooms you can book on Kayak here and on Trivago here.
“And it still happens with clients who don’t have to know about Peruvian cuisine, or its ingredients, but they are people who come dedicated and willing to experiment“, indicates the chef between passes. A virtue of the diner that he did not always find in Madrid.
Peru is not just ceviche
In three stops, Malpartida always advocates dignifying the rest of Peruvian cuisines, highly influenced by the perception of the coast or nikkei that the Peruvian table may have. “What people know best are ceviches, but there is much more Peruvian cuisine than ceviche,” she synthesizes.
“It also happens with Nikkei, which is only part of our fusion,” he clarifies. For this reason, in Maymanta as in its previous stage in Madrid (Luma, a restaurant in the heart of the Center that sounded like a star Michelin) advocates for the three Perus: Pacific, mountains and jungle.
Jungle is not a toast to the sun either, Well, Malpartida boasts of jungle and Amazonian origins since he grew up in Tarapota and Iquitos, the Peruvian gateways to the Amazon. “There is a not so well-known cuisine that I also want people to know about,” she clarifies.
He does it with a dedicated public but with a versatile offer, which includes a letter and a tasting menu, where the presence of tapas, anticuchos, the game with smoke (wok and grill command) or the ‘raw’ part of ceviches and tiraditos are guaranteed.
constantly changing, Malpartida does not anchor the Maymanta letter to a hotel concept that is repeated year after year. Always from a gastronomic point of view, its tasting menu continues to grow over the years, introducing new products or changing recipes.
“I can’t stop surprising the client and I want to position Maymanta as what it is: a great restaurant,” he says. “It’s not just another Peruvian, but Peruvian haute cuisine, and here [se refiere al hotel y a la propiedad, con los que tiene gran sintonía]it can be done,” he considers.
a reality that the rise and stabilization of Latin American cuisine cannot go unnoticed which, however, meets glass ceilings in haute cuisine. Perhaps because the Spanish public has not climbed those culinary steps or because of the distrust of the most gastronomic restaurants, the reality is that there are squares that can run aground.
Cases like that of Miguel Ángel Méndez in Ayawaskha, doing Ecuadorian cuisine, or Edwin Quimbaya, doing the same with Colombian cuisine in Quimbaya —also in Madrid— are symptoms of that gastronomic America that does not always catch on among the Spanish public. “I think it’s ignorance because or we have not been able to make them come to our restaurants or because much more needs to be explained, but in no case do I think it’s bad faith,” says Malpartida.
The Madrid skyline
Malpartida is young, but not a newcomer. Neither to Ibiza nor to Spain, since his tour in Madrid began with Tiradito Pisco Bar a decade ago, with which he put on the map a Peru that was beginning to make itself known.
Then he grew and evolved the concept until he opened Luma, the great gastronomic bet with which he put not only the Peruvian table in the spotlight, but to the producer, bringing fruits and vegetables from Peru itself. The adventure was brief and enriching, but also expensive.
As a reflection, Omar assumes that the restaurants and brands that a cook symbolizes must be profitable. “The same thing happens with Roberto Ruiz [creador de Punto Mx, ya cerrado, y primer restaurante mexicano con estrella Michelin fuera de México, que ahora triunfa con propuestas más populares y con un delivery]. Once you have a brand, you have to know how to make it profitable and monetize it, and not also be doing what others want you to do,” he points out.
It also refers to external demands, sometimes for presentations, congresses or searches for a purism that is not profitable or that weighs down the projection or personal life of the chef himself. “You also want to grow up, make money, have a family and not have to be cooking or doing what others tell you because you’re supposed to be doing other things,” she emphasizes.
It is no coincidence that I am happy in Maymanta, where his destiny rules, he is happy cooking and he is happy feeding. For this reason, talking about returns to Madrid, always up in the air, is necessary even if it is exhausting. “I like Madrid, but Ibiza too, and to Madrid you have to go with things very clearly and with the numbers done,” she warns.
And if something is now clear in Omar Malpartida’s path, it is that has, despite his youth, things very clear while positioning Maymanta as the best Peruvian in Spain.
Images | Hotel Aguas de Ibiza / Maymanta
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