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A taste of Peru

[Chef Claudia Alvarado]
Chef Claudia Alvarado of Sodexo Peru is visiting Queen's University as part of the Global Chef Program. (University Communications)
[Queen's in the World]
Queen's in the World

The Queen’s community will have the chance to taste the flavours of Peru on Friday at Leonard Hall.

Queen’s University Hospitality Services is hosting one of Sodexo Peru’s leading chefs, Claudia Alvarado, as part of the company’s Global Chef Program.

Chef Alvarado will be serving up seven classic Peruvian dishes including Pollo a la Brassa al Estilo Peruana (Peruvian style chicken), Pimiento Relleno (stuffed red peppers) and Seco de Cordero al Estilo Norteno (leg of lamb in cilantro sauce with rice). There will also be vegetarian dishes and a vegan dish.

For Chef Alvarado, the key to Peruvian cuisine is the variety of ingredients and the pairing of flavours.

“What is good about Peruvian food is that you can mix all the ingredients and everything is going to taste really, really good,” she says.

Combine peppers, potatoes, seafood, tomatoes, lamb and beef and throw in a mixed bag of cultural influences, including China, Africa and Europe.

Chef Alvarado knew from a very young age that she wanted to cook as her whole family spent so much time in the kitchen together. At two years old, and looking to help out, she would bother her parents so much, she says, that her mother gave her a toy knife. She would then get busy chopping imaginary carrots, potatoes or whatever else was on the menu.

“My whole family cooks. Every time my dad cooked I was in the kitchen with him, helping him. It’s a passion for me to be in the kitchen and to make really, really good food makes me happy,” she says.

Chef Alvarado would go on to study at Le Cordon Bleu Peru and joined Sodexo, moving to various positions including North Arizona University in Flagstaff.

But home would call her back and she returned to Peru where she is now the Head of Project for Sodexo Peru.

While this is the first time she has participated in the Global Chef Program, she sees it as a valuable opportunity to gain experience, meet different people and learn new techniques as well as share hers with her hosts.

“We are very fortunate to have Chef Alvarado join us on Queen’s campus,” says Colin Johnson, Queen’s Campus Executive Chef. “She has great skill in the kitchen, and it is a wonderful experience for our team to learn more about Peruvian culture and foods. We are always interested in expanding our menus for students, staff and faculty.”

On Friday she’s hoping diners arrive ready to try something new and fresh.

“I am hoping they are going to like the food, and come for more,” she says.

The Classic Peruvian Menu by Chef Alvarado will be available at Leonard Hall on Friday from 11 am to 2 pm. Many of the menu items will also be available at Ban Righ Dining Hall from 11 am to 2 pm, and West Campus from 4:30 pm to 7 pm. The regular Staff and Faculty $5 Friday event will include the featured Peruvian menu.