Not your grandma’s Italian cooking
Claim to fame: Chef Arlett Eulert, leading the new generation of Peruvian cooks
Reason to go: Matria is the mother of all Lima’s truly great risottos and pasta
To look out for: Chef Eulert’s famous warm carrot cake, served with a sinful miso paste butterscotch
Lima is such a foodcentric city that people actually worry about the next generation of cooks; “We don’t have new stars. What’s going to happen in the future?” is a rather common complaint we hear from Limeño foodies. After all, the city fostered impressive chefs like Gastón Acurio, Virgilio Martínez and Micha Tsumura.
Of course, living up to the expectations generated by so many star toques is daunting and Peruvians can be harsh critics, but there is a heaping spoonful of young hopefuls who are working hard and writing their own new chapter in Peru’s culinary history.
Leading the pack is Arlette Eulert, a creative force who cut her teeth next to Rafael Osterling, managing the kitchens of both Rafael and El Mercado. You can trace Osterling’s influence in Eulert’s cuisine, but since she opened Matria back in 2013 she’s been finding her own voice and earning critical acclaim.
You’ll get it the instant you sink your own teeth into any one of her insta-classics like the Mejillones salteados en aromas de Pisco, a dish that looks so simple it makes you wonder why no one came up with this perfect combo before: mussels, Pisco, onions, garlic confit, yellow and limo aji Peruvian chili peppers. Herein lies one of Chef Eulert’s many talents, finding ingenious new ways of preparing well-known dishes and/or ingredients that stopped surprising you a long while ago. When was the last time you had a genuinely delicious yet unexpected pizza? We’re guessing it wasn’t yesterday. So by all means, do try Matria’s Pizza Loche, freed of the ubiquitous, yawn-inducing tomato stuff, it’s a revelation smeared with delicate, fragrant Peruvian Loche squash-sauce, topped with caramelized onions, Peruvian goat cheese and homemade bocconcini. Oh, and there’s ashes on that pizza too. You’ll thank us the minute your teeth hit this one.