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From María Félix to Robert De Niro: the stars who surrendered to Peruvian food

The famous Mexican actress known as La Doña or María Bonita, was in Lima in June 1963 and gave a press conference at the Hotel Crillón. “I am very happy to have arrived in Lima. I have very good references and I know that I will like it, “she told El Comercio during her first statements. La Doña came to our country to appear at the Municipal Theater and in the Show de shows program of Radio Victoria. In the image of the Historical Archive of the El Comercio Group that dates from June 28, 1963, she is seen tasting some anticuchos.

According to the chronicle of Kenyi Coba in Somos, during the visit of María Félix a legend was woven around the pisco sour, because the Mexican star wanted to drink this famous cocktail at any rate. For this, she decided to stay at the Gran Hotel Bolívar for a few days and fulfill her mission.

In that same decade, Lima received stars such as the Mexican actor Mario Moreno ‘Cantinflas’, The Rolling Stone and Ava Gardner.

Visit of boxer Muhammad Ali to Lima on September 19, 1971. (Photos: GEC Historical Archive)

“With the same ease with which he accounts for his rivals in the ring, Ali yesterday dispatched his occasional opponent: a golden chicken that he gobbled up in a jiffy,” described El Comercio Grafico on September 19, 1971. The boxer Muhammad Ali ( whose birth name is Cassius Clay) devoured in front of the press and onlookers what at first glance seemed like a turkey leg, and that the press of the time described as a grilled chicken.

(Photos: GEC Historical Archive)

The boxer who was already a world star arrived in the country to face the Peruvian Guillermo ‘Willy’ de la Cruz at the National Stadium and stayed at the Hotel Crillón, in the same room as Pelé, according to Miguel Villegas in the chronicle of the Ali’s visit to Lima.

The actor and singer Pedro Infante on January 10, 1957. (Photos: GEC Historical Archive)

Pedro Infante was received in Lima at the height of his popularity and three months after his death in a plane crash. According to the chronicle of Carlos Batalla, the Mexican actor and singer announced a future collaboration with Hollywood Marlon Brando that could never materialize.

(Photos: GEC Historical Archive)

During his stay in the country during the month of January 1957 he had presentations on Radio Victoria that soon sold out. He took the opportunity to try our gastronomy and drinks as shown in the image of our archive with what could be a Peruvian pisco toasting with the photographer’s lens.

One of the visits that paralyzed Lima in 2019 was the arrival of American actor Robert De Niro. Fans and the local press followed and documented his steps in media and social networks, so we learned that the protagonist of “Taxi Driver” and “Goodfellas” made a gastronomic tour of the best restaurants in Lima such as Isolina, Maido and Central.

The Isolina gizzards that actor Robert De Niro tried.

In addition, in Cusco he continued with the journey and on the train he was served by chef James Berckemeyer who did not imagine that on that lucky day he would cook a ceviche for Robert De Niro himself. In Central he dined with his son the 16-course Alturas Mater menu.

In Isolina he ordered Italian tripe, chicken gizzards and guargueros. In Maido he ordered a bread with pork rinds, guinea pig, niguiris, among other varieties. She finished her 3-day tour of Peruvian cuisine at Canta Rana before flying to Cusco. More details of the ‘De Niro menu’ in Lima can be found in the chronicle of Catherine Contreras.

The star of the youth musical High School Musical arrived in our country in December 2018 to film two episodes of the Netflix documentary Con los pies en la tierra, recorded in Iquitos and Lima. As expected, the visits were also gastronomic, and snacks here and there.

Zac Efron tried all kinds of dishes and drinks during his trip through Lima and Iquitos.  In the image, in the Surquillo market.  (Photo: Netflix)

Thus, Zac Efron walked through the Surquillo Market where he had our famous lucuma juice accompanied by chef Virgilio from Central and Darin Olien. At Central he tried the tasting menu. In Iquitos, he did not resist suri or the other dishes from the Peruvian jungle.

Susan Sarandon visited Machu Picchu in 2010. (Photo: El Comercio)

She was so fascinated with Peruvian food that she even stated that she aspired to include our gastronomy in the menu of her New York restaurant Spin. In that 2010, Susan Sarandon, the greatest movie celebrity, walked through Cusco and Puno as part of a tourist campaign. The protagonist of Thelma and Louise declared that she ate brains, pork and corn from Cusco to Puno: “We have tried everything. Brains, pig, corn… really everything. Despite the effects of the altitude, it was impossible to stop eating. My companions and I have eaten, eaten and eaten”, she pointed out in an interview with Verónica Ayllón from the TV program “Depelicula” amazed with the local gastronomy.

Actress Cameron Díaz visited our country in 2007 together with Sol Guy, MTV presenter in Canada.  They toured Machu Picchu.  (Reuters)

The Hollywood star, Cameron Diaz, arrived in Cusco in June 2007 to record an episode of the 4 Real program, where the culture of a place in the world is shown. On this occasion they chose Machu Picchu because at that time it was applying to be one of the 7 wonders of the world and, as you know, it succeeded. On her tour, the actress from “La Máscara” and “Being John Malkovich” visited the Cusco restaurant A miWAY where she tried the best dishes of local cuisine.

Actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.  (Photos: HBO)

The interpreter of Jamie Lanister, emblematic character of the series “Game of Thrones”, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, arrived in Peru as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations. He arrived in the Peruvian jungle and met with the Minister of the Environment to discuss Peru’s role in climate change. On this visit, the Danish actor also got to know our gastronomy in restaurants like Central where “he ate everything: paiche, lamb, sea bass, grouper, shrimp, prawns, squid, but what he liked the most was the oca (Andean tuber) and the cocoa-based dessert”, explained chef Virgilio.

In addition, the celebrity visited the Awicha restaurant in Barranquilla and tried the duck ceviche a la huachana and the shrimp tartare by chef Jason Roman.

Source: Elcomercio

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