Published August 2021
I cook what I like eating. This sentence could summarize Peruvian chef Francesca Ferreyros's challenge when she created the menu for her restaurant Baan in Lima.
Her goal was to recreate the flavors she had learned during her two-year stay at Gaggan Anand's restaurant in Bangkok (Thailand) and her tours throughout Asia, which she transformed into a project that became a reality in 2020. Baan, which means "home" in Thai, results from all the processes she carried out to achieve a fusion between Southeast Asia and Peruvian-Amazon food.
The cook points out that the most crucial step of the creative process is researching. She explains that all gastronomies must follow this previous search. Since her goal is merging Thai and Amazonian food, she had to search for understanding the connection between the two countries. For example, she tells us that at the beginning, she did not know which herbs grow in Southeast Asia that she could obtain in Peru or the profile of flavors found in other products. Besides, there are techniques, cultures, and ways of working that she had to study to merge them properly.
She found the relationships she was looking for in supplies, techniques, and dressings. For example, in Southeast Asian cuisine, everything includes onions, chili peppers, and coriander.
Francesca prepares what is called "signature cuisine," which for her is how the chef can express who they are through a dish by using their unique techniques and styles to obtain their representative flavors.
We can find dishes such as Pesca Thai at her restaurant, which is fish served with green curry sauce. The menu also includes spicy eggplant Min Pao, Thai Red Curry Tiger Milk and Karipap, classic Malaysian street food pastries filled with chicken or vegetable curries. For brunch, her menu offers a traditional breakfast with little Chinese dumplings and a variety of small dishes like Dim Sum.
This enormous explosion of combined flavors raises a question: does Francesca have a favorite dish? "It is difficult to choose one of them because each dish is special since it is something new for your palate. However, at the same time, you can identify many flavors, so it does not taste like a strange dish," she explains. She also says that Peruvians are very attached to their national gastronomy, so the combination must be something that surprises them.