Thursday, September 18, 2008

Peru: Part 2

Well, I made it in and out of Peru this time. The trip didn’t start too well when I was on exactly the same airplane, courtesy of American Airlines, that didn’t make it last time. Yes, it was the same flight with the same equipment, and they still hadn’t repaired seat 3A.

Anyway, all went well and once again the Miraflores Park put on a great show. This is one of the Orient-Express Hotels and they are totally service focused. A great bar (Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde), a great fish restaurant, good spa and brilliant customer service. In Peru, the service mentality is their greatest secret weapon. They really care about delivery.

The next morning passed in an array of video and media interviews which were characterized by unusual, emotional and passionate questioning from the journalists concerned. Journalism is a young, honorable profession in Peru and attracts smart, curious, educated, lively people. In my experience they all share one thing, they are optimistic and positive. We could do with bringing some of them into New Zealand and the UK.

After the media session, the Dean and Faculty leadership of Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas hosted a wonderful lunch at one of those quirky, irresistible restaurants that crop up from time to time. When it comes to serving people, Andy at The Jumble Room in Grasmere beats the field, but let me tell you the team at El Pescado Capital are cut from the same cloth. Pescado means fish in Spanish and is very close to Pecado, which means sin. The restaurant picks up on this and is themed Capital Fishes or Capital Sins. The whole menu takes you through every sin you can think of and puts up a meal against each one. It’s a great psychological game to figure out what you are going to order. One of your own sins, one you’ve never tried, one you’d like to try? I was introduced to the owner of the place who gave me a copy of the menu which I’ll put at the end of this post.

Food in Peru is fantastic and the whole culinary experience is taking off there. They have chefs all over the world, including a new place opening at The Mayfair in London. The ingredients are fresh, healthy and extremely tasty. The nation that gave you ceviche is probably one of the hottest areas in the world right now for foodies.

We were joined at lunch by one of Peru’s hottest creatives, Gustavo Rodriguez (ex Saatchi & Saatchi) now running his own agency Toronja (grapefruit). Also at the table was the president of our Peruvian agency, Raul Rachitoff, the lovely and brilliant Ximena Vega, Hernan Campos and Catherine Nettleton, the British Ambassador. Catherine is an optimistic, constructive, positive, focused diplomat of the new breed. From Yorkshire stock, schooled in Manchester, she was great company. Catherine is an experienced ex China hand and was a real breath of fresh air. The diplomatic service needs more of her kind.

After lunch I went to the University where I was privileged to receive an Honorary Professorship. The ceremony was formal, traditional, historic and moving. Ursula and Luis spoke in glowing terms and I’m afraid I threw away my prepared speech. The mood, the connectivity and the positive emotion was so great that I simply addressed the room from the heart. Not sure this is de rigeur on formal occasions, but luckily humanity prevailed and everyone was very complimentary and supportive. It’s an amazing world that a working class Lancastrian who got kicked out of school at 17 can receive an Honorary Professorship from a university in Lima, Peru. What a wonderful world we live in. Thank you Enrique Lizarzaburu for making the impossible possible.

Menu from El Pescado Capital

4 comments:

Joefish said...

That menu is genius!

Ximena said...

Thanks 4 your comments!
Hope to see you soon, Kevin.
Ximena

Kempton said...

Hi Kevin,

Congrats on the Honorary Professorship.

Funny that American Airlines still had the same problem with seat 3A. (Thinking about it more, it is not funny as I hate to rely on FAA alone in making sure AA us safe to fly, etc.)

Enrique said...

Thanks to you Kevin