As you walk across the desert sands of central Peru, you suddenly come upon an oasis. Not the babbling stream, shaded fig tree oasis of the movies, but a series of simple, yet well-constructed buildings that comprise the Pachacutec Culinary Institute.
Inside these buildings are large classrooms and professional kitchens that would rival those found in any of the world’s renowned cooking schools. The students are young men and women from the community of Pachacutec, located about 90 minutes north of Lima, as well as from other disadvantaged communities.
The competition to be accepted as a student at the Pachacutec Culinary Institute is fierce. While over 500 students will apply to attend here, only approximately 25 will be accepted. But once in, students here undergo a two-year program in which they receive an education equal to that of any private culinary school, but at one-tenth the cost.
The Pachacutec Culinary Institute was founded in 2007 by renowned Peruvian chef, Gaston Acurio, who has always believed in the power of food to bring people together and wanted to give something back to his native country. The culinary school is just part of the larger Pachacutec Foundation, which, founded in 2004, is a series of schools created to help young people in this distressed area of Peru break the cycle of poverty.
Graduates of the Pachacutec Culinary Institute can be found in the kitchens of the finest restaurants around the world, and of course, Peru. It’s an opportunity that would most likely otherwise be impossible for these young people from marginalized communities, and a way to help ensure the success of the future culinary innovators of Peru.
The Pachacutec Culinary Institute is not set up to receive a large number of visitors, however, in extraordinary situations, it can accommodate a handful of visitors when accompanied by a trusted source. For more details, please contact Culture Xplorers.