Miguel Ángel Valdiviezo is creating «Sabor», the new menu from Tampu
The new Tampu menu pays tribute to the Peruvian “Sabor” (Flavor), with new dishes that will be incorporated into the current menu and will be ready for next year. The chef will play with our senses making versions of patita con maní (pork leg with peanuts) or tacu tacu (mix of beans with rice), experiencing with the supplies and techniques, but maintaining the essence of Peruvian cuisine: the flavor.
Miguel Ángel Valdiviezo is chef and owner of Tampu, a restaurant recommended by the Michelin Guide and the Repsol Guide, and is one of the references of Peruvian cuisine in Madrid.
Graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in Lima, he arrived in Spain in 2002. Here, he started working at the legendary Inti de Oro, his current partner’s restaurant, for 6 years. Afterwards, he worked in the kitchen of the Reina Victoria Hotel, until, in 2010, he received the proposal to open his current restaurant. Tampu, in its Spanish form tambo, is the Quechua term that defines a hostel and food store for travelers, a kind of inn of the Inca times.
He has always been revolutionary with his cooking, as when he presented the classic dish of papa rellena (stuffed potato) and undid the stuffed, a clear message to go against the tide of the time when Peruvian cuisine was still in an early stage in the Spanish capital and he wanted to boost it.
Chef Miguel Ángel changes the menu in January but in June he is already creating ideas and developing them. In addition, he does it with great care, adjusting every detail not only for the food menu but also takes care of the winery, attends tastings to find wines that match his food, as well as beers and even has four different types of water served in his restaurant. And as he says, “he tries to make Tampu not only a restaurant but a gastronomic experience in every way”.
In this interview, the chef tells us a preview of what his new menu will be, how he creates it, how he gets inspired, and we discover not only how he cooks the flavors of the earth but also cooks with poetry. A facet that few people know.
By Fabiola Gálvez
How is the new Tampu menu?
I find myself in the position of putting more interesting things at the level of product and technique, but without losing the essence. The Punto P, as I call it, is the point of Peruvian flavor, we have always wanted in Tampu to show new and creative things, not haute cuisine without losing the essence, eat something different that does not exist in Peru but you try that and bring you some memory.
Do you want diners to travel?
That was also one of my flags, the taste. And so, the prologue of this menu is going to headline “Sabor”, and raise awareness of the importance of taste, which identifies us as Peruvians. We can play with textures, with supplies, but what we cannot play with is the essence of flavor.
Have you eaten patita con maní ( pork legs with peanut)?
We will make a version of patita con maní. It’s made with beef, but I’m going to make it with pork.
We have ever had classic tacu tacu, but now we are going to get wild rice that will be wrapped in a liquid heart of pallares, and this accompanied by a sudado of red mullet. Something that I loved in Peru, it is when the fish was tiny and you fried it well, you could eat from the head to the tail, with all spine, because they were crispy, and I am seeing ideas of how to make sudado and then accompany it with the fried spine, let’s see.
Does this menu have more techniques and is more gastronomic?
As it was shown from the beginning, that a ceviche could be more than a fish and mixed ceviche, you could make Amazonian ceviche, highland, hot, meat ceviches. Now I want to make a tiradito of Iberian prey. I don’t only rely on things that occur to me, but on research.
Gloria Hinostroza Clausen De Molina, Peruvian culinary historian, taught me at Le Cordon Bleu, I learned a lot from her. For example, the encevichado, exists, is a fish that is only gutted, cut into slices and made with everything. Or you have los celadores, from Arequipa, which is a raw shrimp ceviche. Then, in the south of Lima, you have chicken ceviche, and in the little north, there is also a ceviche with beef. Based on that line of research, we can play. Why not put the jaqchi ayacuchano? we already put it once in the menu.
The ceviche and the causa limeña are the standard bearers of Peru, but if one keeps trying, trying, you find a dish that can be our new flag dish, you have to continue teaching them.
How would you define your kitchen?
Author cuisine making Peruvian cuisine. Many people who are Peruvian, are transported, and those who are not, are conquered, is our mainstay of the kitchen.
In the classic tasting menu, you accompany your dishes with stories: «Only the wind sounds on the sand and the waves of the sea on a hot day where the dunes walk quietly through the desert», and you present a lomo saltado (Peruvian beef stir fry) and seco norteño. Tell me, how do you create these stories?
I write a prologue to each menu, and each menu has a story to tell. We have been almost nine years, it may be almost 15 menus, I do not remember how many dishes I have made.
In the new menu, we are going to talk about what I understand as Peruvian flavor, and that reflects the respect of the product.
Do you write it yourself?
Yes, I do everything. I read you a sentence as an advance:
“Peru are flavors and textures, mixtures of acids, sweet and spicy, in perfect harmony, a sweet ballad that makes us tap our feet to the rhythm of a box drum, a fine subtlety that rips you out loud with a kiss, a poem of madness that makes you feel, Peru as a flavor transports you in time, it thrills you without promises, it excites you …”
How beautiful, nostalgic, very poetic, speaks of Peruvian flavor and culture.
Taste is what identifies us. I want to make a tacu tacu, distorted at the level of texture, no longer mixed, but in the end, when you put it in your mouth, let me know or remind you of tacu tacu. For that, the base is the flavor, the dressing, its garlic, its onion …
It is playing with the senses. And how many new dishes are you going to add to the menu?
Now I am changing six dishes because I have learned with experience and I take it more calmly.
The current menu has four parts:
Since the last menu has removed starters and main courses, and I changed it to “sea bites”, “sand bites”, and at sea, that would be seafood products — fish and shellfish —and in the sand, it would be meats. Within it, the products of the land are divided into two: “sand”, the creative part with four dishes, and “the grandfather recommends”, with three dishes.
The structure of the menu will depend on the prologue and the dishes. In this new menu, I will continue not distinguishing starters from main courses, because there was always that confusion of classifying the ceviche as a starter, so we removed it so that people eat it as they want.
We are trying to make more innovative, interesting, fun dishes, and the draft will come out, as we finish the dishes.
THE HISTORY OF TAMPU
You were always very curious and when you saw that Peruvian restaurants served the classic dishes, you wanted to break with that mold
When I started looking for work here, there was La Llama, La Lupe, the Inti de Oro, I saw that there were a few restaurants and they all did the same, and not very well, those were not the flavors that I remembered from the land. And it was 2002, and the kitchen in Lima was already advanced, we were starting the boom, there was already Cucho La Rosa, Rafael Osterling, Virgilio, it was arriving at A&G. So, I found out that the kitchen was years out of date, here the starters were huancaína, stuffed potato, ceviche, and it was classic or mixed, so there were only 5 things.
When I manage the kitchen of Inti de Oro, I tried to change things, tiradito with ají amarillo, and the current Inti de Oro has evolved a lot in the proposal and quality, thanks to the Peruvian cuisine environment in Madrid, these years. And the market is better before you could pull the wool over the eyes, now it is impossible, people already know the flavors and know about the product, and this is a job of the chefs who are here, Omar Malpartida, Luis Arévalo, with the Commercial Office of Peru in Madrid.
When I opened Tampu, I was able to demonstrate what could be done and I was lucky to open along with A&G in Castellana.
Is there a change when you open A&G?
Of course, I opened at the same time as Viru. The leap was very advanced in time because in the market you have to teach them for consumption, it is like saying Chinese cuisine and people are used to eating their rice three delicacies, which is a fake Chinese food because you go to China and you don’t eat that. If you want to do things as they should with the products, you don’t spend 20 euros, but 100 euros, the market isn’t prepared for that then, you don’t have to go so high, you have to go slowly for people to go learning
That was the process with Tampu starting from below, in Prosperidad.
I met the Tampu in Prosperidad, from the beginning.
We started with very interesting things but they did not have the price that it should have, it was more the effort of us to show a cuisine. The idea was to teach people and conquer them with newness. We had the liquid croquettes of ají de gallina or the unstuffed potatoes. When we opened, a lot of people said, «But you don’t have papa a la huancaína, you don’t have anticucho, what kind of Peruvian is this».
Were they already instructed?
[Smiles] I, because I just wanted to bother them, made them the unstuffed potato instead of being stuffed, I’ve always been very rebellious, you know?
Creating new things has been my goal since we opened. Now, the goal is haute cuisine, because we have improved from the location, the market, our price is higher that allows us to handle gourmet products, improve the quality we offer.
Thank you very much, chef Miguel Ángel! We look forward to trying your new menu with great desire. As diners, choosing a dish from the menu takes a few minutes but for a dish to be on the menu, it takes months, there is a lot of work behind.
One of the best Peruvian restaurants in Madrid, modern and creative signature cuisine by chef Miguel Ángel Valdiviezo, without losing the authentic flavors. A varied menu that focuses on classic dishes but is also based on research, and puts on the table a regional recipe book that is not widespread even in the country itself. Either way, it will surprise you.
If you are passionate about cooking, join the Tampu team. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org
More of Miguel Ángel Valdiviezo’s cooking, we leave you his recipe for ají de gallina.
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Address: Calle de Prim, 13, Madrid
Telephone: +34 91 564 19 13