In this interview, Tamy Gordon, Administrator at La Cicciolina, shares insights into what it takes to manage one of Cusco’s most unique and popular restaurants.
That intense blue sky drew me in, it was pure energy, and those immense mountains; i felt the culture, the spirit, the sense of remoteness here, and i knew there were opportunities to create fabulous things without anyone saying, ‘no!’ i wanted to be part of that.
Where were you born and where have you lived?
I was born in the incredible city of Cafe Town, South Africa,when apartheid was still in existence. At age three,I moved with my parents to the beautiful and free town of Melbourne, Australia.
When did you first visit Peru and what impression did you have? And what thing about Cusco was the motivator for you to stay here?
I left Australia in 1996 with a backpack and the idea of finding my place to live in the world, no matter how long it took for me to find it. I landed in the great American continent and found my place in Cusco, Peru at the end of the first year of my travels. I arrived in a bus from Lake Titicaca. In those days, buses arrived in the early morning hours when it was still dark and everyone just stayed sleeping on the bus until the sun began to rise. The first thing I saw when I opened my eyes was the electric-blue skies of Cusco. That intense blue sky drew me in, it was pure energy, and those immense mountains; I felt the culture, the spirit, the sense of remoteness here, and I knew there were opportunities to create fabulous things without anyone saying,”NO!” I wanted to be part of that.
What do you feel when people say that Cicciolina is the most important and recognized restaurant in Cusco?
When people say things like that about Cciciolina, I have to pinch myself! It’s because when people talk about us like that, it really is a huge achievement for my team and for each of us as individuals; more so give the number of excellent restaurants in Cusco. We began the business totally self-trained, but we knew that we loved food, fine service and a great restaurant,and we were not afraid of hard work.
Do you have any new projects in the works? Have you thought of opening Cicciolina in other parts of Peru, or the world?
My projects right now are my incredible son Tiago, who is five-years-old, and my new, 10-month-old baby daughter Zuri, both born in Cusco. Like all mothers who are also businesswomen, it is a real challenge to find the balance between family and work. I love both parts of my life!
A lot of people have wanted us to open another Cicciolina in another part of the world, but we have said no. Some might say this a lack of vision, but we say it is a
desicionbased on qualityof life. Cicciolina embodies our spiritofbalanced living because we are there literally every day ;whichhas made the restaurant a sucess.
What are the challenges of cooking at an altitude of 3,400 metres?
The challenge of making good food at 3,400
metresis everything! It’s a test: time temperature, mixes, fermentation; it’s all different from sea level. Recipes do not work here innthe same way, so they need to be analyzed and tasted. That’s where our new chef, Luis Alberto, appears on the scene.
He is a biochemist, so the secrets of making a light croissant, al dente pasta and perfect risotto are his to uncover. I can
assureyou though, that you need different methodologies at high altitude to make crisp and delicious baguett.
To find out more about La Cicciolina, please visit their website.
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Credit: Ultimate Journeys Peru
Cover photo: Ultimate Journeys Peru