It’s been a year since our team has started the development of Yuyo, an Austin Eastside Peruvian restaurant. But it’s been a three-year journey for me. How do I show the wonderful products, natural resources, and geography of Peru in one dinner experience? How do I represent the culinary brotherhood and the pride in products made from their natural resources?
Bite by savory bite.
Our second pop-up dinner for Yuyo came and went on November 15, 2016. Similar to a dinner that takes 3 hours to cook and is gobbled in 15 minutes. Our dinner took three weeks to plan and lasted three hours. So many details to concern ourselves with; decor, food preparation, fly-in potential sous chef, and curating a guest list of 20 people. This was our second practice run to communicate our story and perfect the delivery of information about each dish. I was so excited to finally invite guests to experience elements I feel bring a part of Peru to Austin.
In a restaurant, a customer’s first and last impression is shared word of mouth with friends. I knew that our welcoming nibble had to be offered in a warm, friendly, and fun presentation. Lima restaurants give complimentary chips known as chifles with a few dipping aji (chile) sauces. They include plantains and potato chips. The potato originates from the Andes mountains. Peru claims over 3000 plus varieties. Each with distinguishable taste and more importantly, flavor! If you are fond of mashed potatoes, potato chips, and fries, imagine these classic comfort foods with double the potato flavor.
I’ve been in love with the market bags of Bolivia since my volunteer and family trip in 2003. Bolivia and Peru share the same market bag materials. I have my collection of utilitarian bags, cubes, and pouches occupied by my pencils, power cords etc. After a few trial basket ideas it came to me- why not use these cubes for the chifles? They are washable and collapse flat for easy storing. I had these cute cubes custom made for our restaurant. I hope they don’t get stolen! But our customers love us and we love them, so that would never happen.
Photos by Gabriel Campbell