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Mitsuharu Tsumura ’s path to the top through Nikkei cuisine

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Peru and Japan are separated by more than 9,000 miles and one ocean, but physical distance and cultural differences don’t matter at Maido in Lima. Mitsuharu Tsumura melds Peruvian and Japanese culinary traditions, creating what’s known as Nikkei cuisine.

Chili, cilantro, black pepper. Raw fish, soy. Peruvian food is exciting and full of flavor, so it harmonizes wonderfully with the delicately balanced subtleties of Japanese dishes. Tsumura, the son of Japanese immigrants, began exploring his love of cooking from a young age; his parents weren’t exactly thrilled about the messy kitchen, but they still supported him on his journey. Tsumura later studied in the US, then traveled to Osaka to learn Japanese cooking before spending years as a sous chef in Peru. Finally, in 2010, he opened a restaurant of his own: Maido, a Japanese word meaning “Always”, used figuratively to mean something like “Thank you for your continued patronage.” Fortune favors the brave: Maido is now among the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. In our interview with him, Tsumura told us about his plans for the future and described where he sees Nikkei cuisine in 20 years.

 

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