In the Kitchen: Peruvian Cuisine with Chef Stephan Joubert

Peru's gastronomy is world class
Peru's gastronomy is world class

There are many reasons to travel to Peru...with the obvious bucket list experiences to tick off like walking the Inca Trail and spotting wildlife in the Amazon jungle...but now Peru is attracting international attention for their award winning world class cuisine!

Peru has won the 'World's Leading Culinary Destination' for five years in a row at the World Travel Awards. What makes Peruvian cuisine so exciting is its brilliant fusion of traditional flavours and local produce with international influences and innovative techniques. Travellers can experience gastronomic ingenuity at several restaurants in the heart of Cusco. One of our favourite is Incanto, an Italian/Peruvian eatery set in a magical atmosphere in what was once an Inca palace.

Step inside the kitchen of Incanto with Head Chef Stephan Joubert for an unrivalled culinary experience. Stephan tells us what he finds so fascinating about the culinary movement in Peru and what compelled him to move across the world to be part of the action.

What are the three essential elements of Peruvian cuisine? 

It is very difficult to select just three essential elements. The diversity in Peru is so rich because of its unique ingredients. However, if I had to choose I would say: Peruvian limes, aji limo chilli peppers and quinoa, these ingredients create magic on any table.

Stunning views over Cusco in Peru.Stunning views over Cusco in Peru.

You have studied and worked at restaurants all around the world – what brought you to Cusco? 

I decided to come to Cusco while I was working in the United States. I met my wife there, who happens to be Peruvian, and when she cooked me my first dinner I was simply captivated… not only by her, but by the mix of flavors and textures that the exquisite plate she prepared contained. By that time I already had taken several classes in Peruvian cooking and discovered its authenticity, so I was tempted to come to Peru and learned more in the field. I fell in love with this beautiful country and its culture.

How does your international training influence your cooking?

I always try to use several of the techniques that I’ve learned throughout many experiences cooking worldwide and to apply them to traditional Peruvian plates. Not complicating the cuisine is the key: the more natural the mixture, the better.

Stephen Cusco

Peru has been named in the World Travel Awards as a leading culinary destination for the past five years...what do you think is the most exciting thing about Peruvian cuisine in recent years? 

Personally, I think it has everything to do with the accessibility of a wide range of ingredients. It’s any chef dream to be able to innovate in dishes and experiment on a daily basis.

I think this is the main reason why Peru has gained a lot of international attention and because of it, you can now find a lot of these ingredients worldwide.

Describe the culinary experience at Incanto in 5 words

Fresh, creative, attractive, captivating, unique.


If I were to step inside the kitchen of Incanto on a typical Friday night, what would I see, smell, hear, feel, taste? 

You would see the dinner rush in full swing, hear me barking orders, feel the heat and passion in the air and the smell of homemade Pomodoro and meats grilling, and taste the spectacular flavour of Italian / Peruvian cuisine.

What is your favourite Peruvian dish (to eat) and why? 

I think that would be the Lomo Saltado, a Peruvian dish influenced by Asia, found everywhere in Peru. Its unique mixture of condiments make it the best national plate, aside from the history that comes with it.

What is the trick to preparing the perfect fluffy quinoa? 

A chef should never reveal his secrets! The trick is to cook the quinoa on low heat, not high temperature, until there is almost no water, and to let the heat steam cook it the rest of the way. You will be left with lovely and delicious fluffy quinoa!

Enjoy a slice of Peru on our active Food Lover's Peru journey for an experience that your taste-buds will thank you for - read more here.  

Culinary Tours, Peru

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