In February 2019, Inkaterra was thrilled to welcome the UK’s youngest Michelin-starred chef Merlin Labron Johnson to a number of our properties as he travelled through Peru on a culinary adventure.
Nine months after opening his first restaurant, Portland, in 2015, Merlin was awarded a Michelin star at the age of 24. Having cooked all over the world, from France to Switzerland and Belgium, Merlin is now the Executive Chef at The Conduit, a social club in London devoted to social change.
As part of Merlin’s foodie journey, he stayed at four of our hotels located across Peru. Starting in the depths of the rainforest, Merlin travelled to the Sacred Valley before finishing his journey in Cusco, later sharing his thoughts on his time with us.
With local cuisine at the heart of his itinerary, Merlin began his Inkaterra experience at Inkaterra Reserva Amazònica, in the Amazon rainforest of South Eastern Peru. Describing it as ‘a marvellous hotel with a calm atmosphere and with welcoming and knowledgeable staff’, Merlin made the most of all the activities the hotel has on offer.
“The excursions on offer at Inkaterra Reserva Amazónica are superb. We decided to experience the fishing tour as it was related to food and fun to do. We got some good content for our social media and Instagram stories.”
Other activities available for guests to enjoy include taking a voyage down the river at twilight with a local Explorer-Guide as well as a walk through the Ecological Reserve by night.
From the rainforest to the Sacred Valley, Merlin’s next stop on his journey was to Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba, in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, near Cusco. With our ‘Earth to Table’ concept and Chicha de Jora making classes, there were plenty of opportunities for Merlin to learn more about our local cuisine.
“We fell in love with the breathtaking setting and the lovely staff at Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba. The spa was very well thought out and we ended up having a treatment both nights! We collected herbs for the treatments beforehand, and sipped local juices after they finished. The food was also great and of a high standard. I particularly enjoyed the ‘cuy’ dish which I shared on my Instagram.”
The final leg of Merlin’s journey took him to the cobbled streets of Cusco and Inkaterra La Casona. Not only did the “beautiful setting and incredible room” impress Merlin, but the additional services we provide our guests did not go unnoticed.
“The bathrooms were just delightful. I was so surprised that there was a service to run a bath before you get to your room – what a nice touch.”
Merlin was equally impressed by our final food offering. “The food there was outstanding. It was also just the right amount and portioned perfectly. I had a wonderful poached pear, chicha and cream dessert. The flavour combination was very unique and blew me away.”
“It was also nice to meet Chef Rafael, Inkaterra`s Corporate Head of F&B. He recommended we had a cocktail at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, where we also ended up trying what might have been our standout meal from our trip, a duck and rice dish.”
Of Inkaterra, Merlin said: “All of the hotels were beautiful and each with their own individual charms and surprises. The food was always delicious and exactly what I felt like eating and an extra special mention for the service and reception staff who provided the nicest and friendliest staff I think I’ve ever received.”
Authentic, sustainable and delicious Peruvian cuisine is at the heart of all of our properties. Using locally grown fruits, vegetables, grains and herbs on all of our menus, Chef Rafael Casin places emphasis on the importance of harvesting seasonal products in order to prepare hearty and high-quality meals for guests. From the Native Farm and ‘Earth to Table’ concept at Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba, to the Green Farm at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel and the Bio-Orchard at the Inkaterra Guides Field Station, guests can be sure that the food they enjoy during their stay is responsibly sourced from the local environment.
After getting the youngest Michelin-starred chef’s seal of approval, we can be sure that a visit to Inkaterra will tickle the taste buds and leave a good taste in your mouth.
For more information on Inkaterra, please visit our website www.inkaterra.com