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New Worlder

  • Episode #86: Juan Luis Martínez

    10 MAY 2024 · is the chef of the restaurant Mérito in Lima, Peru. Juan Luis was born in Venezuela but has been living abroad and working in restaurants in Spain and Peru for many years. He opened in 2018 after working at Central for several years. It’s this narrow, two-level space in the Barranco neighborhood, with lots of minimalist wood and adobe walls. You see the kitchen right upon entering and there are a few seats there, plus more upstairs. The food is colorful, creative and really, really delicious. Is it Venezuelan? Is it Peruvian? It’s kind of both but also neither at the same time. It’s a restaurant cannot easily be boxed in, and I think that’s the beauty of it. More recently he opened, a café and bakery, which recently moved into a larger location a few blocks from Mérito, which has an attached pizzeria called Indio. And late last year he opened another restaurant, called, which is an even more relaxed version of Mérito.   I was recently a voter in Food & Wine’s and when the results were in I was a bit surprised that of all of the restaurants in the world, Mérito in Lima was the one more of these voters ate better at in the last year than any other. For these awards, Mérito was named the best restaurant in the world. I was surprised, to be honest. Not because they didn’t deserve it, but because the restaurant is so unpretentious. I think some people had the impression I had something to do with Mérito getting that ranking because, but other than being a voter I really didn’t. I don’t have that kind of pull. Thanks for thinking I do though. Juan Luis, and his wife Michelle, who is a designer and whose work has left its own stamp on the restaurants as well, have managed to get a lot of attention, both locally and internationally, for these restaurants. 50 Best. Best Chef Awards. Whatever it is they are probably on it. Yet, they have done it by almost doing the total opposite of what most other restaurants that have received similar amounts of attention have done. They aren’t loud or flashy. The investments in the restaurants have never been lavish or in high profile locations. They aren’t on social media non-stop or flying around to conferences every week. They have just focused on creating good, creative food, in comfortable spaces at reasonable prices with great service. And everyone loves them. I send people there all the time and I cannot say I’ve ever heard someone disliking their experience at Mérito. They just happened to have created a really great restaurant. It’s really that straightforward.   So, what is Mérito? Is it a prototype of Venezuelan food fusing with Peruvian food? There are a lot of overlap of ingredients in the two countries, at least overlap in kinds of ingredients if not the exact ingredients, especially in the Amazon and parts of the Andes. Plus, Lima has a history of absorbing whatever culture comes into town. There are more than a million Venezuelans that have moved to the city over the past decade, a phenomenon that’s happening throughout the region because of the instability in Venezuela. There’s no doubt that Venezuelan diaspora is having a major impact on food in the region, and that’s a story I have been watching closely for years. I’m not entirely sure where Mérito fits into all of that. I think it’s just one kitchen’s evolving understanding of flavor, memory, place and art. It’s not forced or trying to define itself. It just is. And it’s wonderful.
    1h 13m 7s
  • Episode #85: Pietra Possamai

    26 APR 2024 · is the winemaker at in the Pisco Valley of Peru. Born in Brazil, she has led the winemaking operations at Bodega Murga, which also distills pisco, since the beginning, in 2019. Her 32 different labels of natural wines using only six of the eight grapes that are used in pisco production. These criolla varieties are mostly unexplored in winemaking, so the possible combinations of what they can be coerced from them is full of potential. Pietra experiments with skin contact, early harvests, co-fermentations, and aging in amphora. She makes Pét-nat, blends and single varietal wines using these grapes. The results have been pretty incredible. She is making wines that could only be made in Peru. They are appearing at all of the best restaurants in Lima and a few of her wines, like the orange Sophia L’Orange, are appearing on some wine lists in the U.S., Europe and Dubai. She is helping change the wine culture in, which had been quite stale in my opinion. I wrote a story a year ago about It’s quite exciting for me to watch. Even though Peru has the deepest history of viticulture in the Americas, the wine has only become something to write about in the last five years or so. Pepe Moquillaza kind of kicked off the movement, making natural wines from Quebranta and Albilla grapes, and now all sorts of wines are coming out of the woodwork, and most are utilizing I went to visit Murga’s vineyards last year and they are quite special. In the interview we talk a little about the Joyas de Murga vineyard, it’s short trek from the bodega, but it’s completely encircled by towering sand dunes. It got its nickname from the hoyas of the Canary Islands, vines circled by stone walls. If you have a chance, check Pietra’s wines from Bodega Murga, and just Peruvian wine in general. It’s entered into a new era and it can finally co-exist alongside Peruvian food, which, let’s face it, is a high bar.
    1h 10m 43s
  • Explicit

    Episode #84: Niklas_Ekstedt

    12 APR 2024 · is the owner of the Michelin starred restaurant in Stockholm, Sweden. It’s a restaurant that was designed around live fire cooking, but it started doing this when it opened in late 2011, well before this was a trend. He had spent years working in modern kitchens, everything from Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago to El Bulli in Spain, and he opened a very successful restaurant focused on molecular food when he was just 21. When New Nordic cuisine started to take off and he began to think about how he could be a part of it in a way that made sense to him, he started to think about Nordic techniques. The older ones. He started to research 18th century cookbooks to understand the way Swedes used to eat. It was closer to the way he grew up in the northern part of Sweden, where foraging was a way of life and his parents would buy meat from Sami herders. I was at Ekstedt more than a decade ago and what I assumed would be something of a gimmick – a modern restaurant with just a wood stove, fire pit and wood fired oven that was without gas or electricity in the kitchen – was anything but. The food was smart and honest, the pure expression of the ingredients. It was one of the highlights of a trip that included meals at Relae and Fäviken. Ekstedt has been open for 13 years now, so any novelty of this restaurant has worn off. Many others have followed in its path. Niklas has even opened too.I think there is something important in thinking about the way we used to eat, wherever we are in the world. The last couple of centuries have truly disconnected us from where our food comes from and how we eat it, and we are paying the price. Our food is less nutritious, it often lacks flavor and its pumped full of all kinds of chemicals that are tearing our bodies and environments apart. We all need to peel back those layers and see what was going on a couple of centuries ago. I don’t mean to limit that to restaurant settings, but in our homes as well.  We also talk a bit about how the restaurant industry is changing. Pre-pandemic, chefs used to take themselves very seriously. Kitchens were more like war zones than places of work. Not to say all is fine, but I think there is a sense that things are moving in a more positive direction.
    1h 7m 59s
  • Explicit

    Episode #83: Andrea Moscoso Weise

    29 MAR 2024 ·, the restaurant manager and beverage director of the restaurant in La Paz, Bolivia. Born in the highland town of Cochabamba, Moscoso was trained as a sociologist, and during the pandemic created a digital platform there called De Raíz, which connected artisan producers of vegetables, wine, beer and other foods with the public. Later, after a meal at Gustu, having never worked in a restaurant before, she dropped what she was doing and decided to move to La Paz for an internship at the restaurant. When her internship was up and she was about to return to Cochabamba, she was offered a job at the restaurant and she has been there ever since. In our discussion, we talk a lot about wine. Bolivia has a burgeoning wine scene. You may have heard our interview with, but Bolivia has some incredible wines, especially the ones coming from old vines and criolla varieties. The sommeliers of Gustu have been one of my primary means of being introduced to new Bolivian wines since the restaurant opened. First it was Jonas Andersen, who now actually runs a wine shop called beside the train station in Croton Falls north of New York City and its wonderful. I went there the other day actually and it’s by far my favorite area wine shop, plus they do nationwide deliveries if you need a a good natural wine purveyor. Then there was, who now lives in Brazil. And now Andrea is there and it’s a really exciting moment, so there was lots to talk about her. We also talk about this pull this particular restaurant has on people. I’ve been going there since Gustu has opened and I have felt it every time I have been there. It has a way of taking someone in and bringing out the best in them. If you ask anyone that has ever worked there will probably tell you that. We spoke with chef about it in an earlier interview. The restaurant has such a purity in what they are trying to do, in a way that is hopeful and real. And what they do is far more than just a restaurant, but have inspired culinary and human development in Bolivia in everything the long arms of gastronomy touches, and that’s a lot of places.
    1h 5m 7s
  • Episode #82: Jaime Duque

    15 MAR 2024 · Jaime Duque (no relation to co-host Juliana Duque by the way) is the founder of, a brand of specialty coffeeshops, roasters and educational centers in Bogota and Quindio, Colombia. Throughout his career, Jaime has worked every part in the value chain of Colombian coffee. He started his work in the fields, as an agricultural engineer, working with farmers to fine tune their process to attain higher levels of quality. He has worked to encourage more specialty growers and for more coffee to be roasted and consumed inside the country. He has become leading coffee educator in Colombia and Catación Pública offers a wide variety of workshops and certifications that are sought out by those in the coffee industry throughout the region. In the interview, we discuss how, even as the rest of the world had been exposed for half a century to the general quality and story of Colombian coffee through the emblematic and imaginary future of Juan Valdez, it has only been until recently that you have been able to actually drink good coffee in Colombia. When I first went to the country, in 2005, most of what you find was tinto, these little cups of coffee loaded with sugar to offset the low quality. All the good stuff was exported. Tinto is still around, but there has been a gradual transition towards a more dynamic coffee culture in the country. Today you see specialty coffeeshops like Catación Pública all over Colombia. There are world class baristas and roasters, and the growers can actually see how their coffee is being consumed, which gives them additional insight into how they should grow it. We also talk about why he thinks fermentation processes like carbonic maceration will remain niche, while cold brew still has enormous growth potential.
    1h 12m 48s
  • Episode #81: Cyrus Tabrizi

    1 MAR 2024 · Cyrus Tabrizi is the founder of, a producer and distributor of fine Iranian caviar. I first met Cyrus last year when we happened to be seated together at a dinner in Udine, Italy during an event called Ein Prosit. After spending a few minutes with him, I began to realize how little I actually understand about caviar and where it comes from. I know it’s considered a luxury product. That caviar is usually expensive. That Russians are known to eat a lot of it. That suddenly millennials are putting it on fried chicken and tater tots. But if you asked me what distinguishes good caviar from great caviar, I couldn’t tell you.The world of caviar has changed dramatically since 2008 when a global ban on caviar from wild sturgeon was enacted by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species after sturgeon were being severely overfished. Now, nearly all of the world’s caviar comes from farmed sturgeon. There are 26 different types of sturgeon and each kind produces unique tasting roe, but the conditions in which each are being raised can vary drastically. The most coveted caviar comes from the Beluga, followed by the Ossetra, sturgeons, which are originally from the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. Farmed caviar, however, is coming from anywhere now. There are hundreds of farms all over the world. There’s lots of caviar being farm raised in the United States. It’s being raised in Uruguay. A ton of it is being raised in China. Much of it is not Ossetra and Beluga, but from other species. There is also fish roe from other kinds of fish, such lumpfish, flying fish or even salmon, that are called caviar, though technically they do not fit the definition. I tried Cyrus’ caviar in Italy and it is indeed the great stuff. That much I know. He explains why Caspian Monarque stands out, in his words. They are a sustainably minded sturgeon farm in the Caspian Sea, the origin of the finest grades of caviar. As they are being farmed within the Caspian Sea, the natural environment they are from, eating the same food they eat in the wild, they can get the highest quality caviar. However, I cannot even get his caviar, Iranian caviar, in the United States because of a ban on Iranian products in the U.S. He explains why that is and how Iranian caviar industry has a history of legal issues despite being historically sustainable and well managed. That’s why he started the business. He was a lawyer and he liked the challenge.The caviar industry is one ripe with fraud. There are scandalous producers and misleading labels, though there are ways to know if you are getting caviar from a good source. On they actually have a way to check the origin of a tin of caviar by the CITES number on the label, and it’s not just for their caviar, but any legally traded variety. For the most part, it’s up to the consumer to know the difference and understand what they are buying. We talk about how blockchain might be used in the future to help make caviar even more transparent. Who knew there was so much to know about caviar? https://www.newworlder.comn
    1h 18m 45s
  • Explicit

    Episode #80: Andrea Petrini

    15 FEB 2024 · Andrea Petrini, or Andy as I know him was born in Italy but has lived for many years in Lyon, France. He is a writer, author and founder of, an always evolving culinary performance concept that aims to push the boundaries of culinary art. I was first exposed to Gelinaz! in 2013, during one of the initial events in Lima, Peru. It was a 22-course, 8-hour dinner beside a Pre-Columbian pyramid with some of the world’s best known chefs where all of them made some variation of octopus and potatoes. It was wild and debaucherous, to say the least., and the story quickly went viral. After that I had the opportunity on many occasions to get to know Andy. I was involved in various Gelinaz! performances during the Gelinaz! Shuffle, where I helped chefs like Ana Roš and Niko Romito behind the scenes when they had to cook meals at Boragó in Chile and Central in Peru, respectively. I was also a part of several other Gelinaz! events in New York and elsewhere in one form or another. I’ve had the opportunity to travel and dine with Andy on many occasions. A couple of years ago I was on a television show with the chef Victoria Blamey that Andy was hosting in Italy, where I got to experience his driving skills and lived to tell about it. Andy is one of my all-time favorite people and I think he wildly misunderstood sometimes. What he stands for has always been, at least in my eyes, is pushing gastronomy to break free of its shackles. To take chefs out of their comfort zone and do something creative. To strive for art and love and soul. It doesn’t always work out that way, as you will hear him explain, but I’m grateful there is someone out there like him that keeps pushing, because its needed more now than ever. For the past year he has been working to help restaurants collaborate with different musicians, to rethink the relationship between food and music. Different events will be occurring throughout the year, so follow to find out more.
    1h 29m 32s
  • Episode #79: Melissa Guerra

    26 JAN 2024 · Melissa Guerra is an author and food writer that lives on a working cattle ranch the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas near the Mexican border. She is someone I have wanted to have on since this podcast started, but the timing never quite aligned. I have known Melissa for more than a decade and she has been doing incredible work writing about the foodways of southern Texas. She used to have a PBS show called the Texas Provincial Kitchen, received a James Beard nomination for her book and also wrote for New Worlder in 2017. Today she has a blog called where she writes recipes inspired by her surrounding landscape, as well as a Melissa’s family has been living in the region since the 1700s, long before Texas was a part of the United States. She sees the food of Texas and the U.S,. rather than divided by a political border, but united by ancient trade routes and modern culture. During the interview we talk about the influence of mesquite in the region’s food, how watering holes were the foundation for human habitation there, what real Tex-Mex cooking is and the migrant crisis and how the people in the borderlands view it, rather than through vapid political gestures by politicians.
    1h 8m 21s
  • Episode #78: Juliana Duque

    11 JAN 2024 · Introducing the Colombia-born author, writer & editor as our new co-host. Today’s episode is an introduction to as the New Worlder podcast’s new co-host. Juliana, or Juli as I tend to call her, was born in Colombia and now lives in Los Angeles. She is the author of the book and is a writer, editor, consultant, producer and many other things. She has a Ph.D. in Sociocultural Anthropology from Cornell University and for many years has been very involved in various development projects that relate to Colombian and Latin American gastronomy. Juliana is someone that understands the magnitude and vastness of cuisine in Latin America, but also that gastronomy in the region is still very much developing. When I say developing I don’t mean commercially or that there are more fine dining restaurants yet to come, I mean the infrastructure to connect rural producers with consumers, to maintain foodways, preserve agricultural and cultural diversity and give people access to nutritious food that doesn’t destroy landscapes and give them terrible diseases. When I started this podcast a couple of years ago, I really had no idea what I was doing. I still don’t to some extent. It was still the middle of the pandemic and I just started to have conversations with people and record them. I have learned a lot from the people I have had on. A lot of interesting things have been said that I think you won’t hear anywhere else. Maybe you are thinking this podcast is already perfect. That I’m perfect. That’s obviously not true and I’m actually quite bad in general at conversation, as you may have noticed. I think I’m a very good listener and creating an atmosphere that lets the guest’s guard down and allows them to open up, however, I often struggle with asking the right questions. Juli and I have very different backgrounds. Her work is generally more analytical, while mine is more about storytelling, so for this podcast I think we complement each other well. It's a new year, so this is as good a time as any to take this show in a new direction. I hope you enjoy what is yet to come.
    1h 1s
  • Explicit

    Episode #77: Sebastian La Rocca

    8 DEC 2023 ·, who is the Argentina-born chef at the restaurant in my hometown of Columbus, Ohio. It’s a Latin American live fire restaurant that opened inside of a new right on High Street in the middle of the city in late 2022. I have known Sebastian for years from his work in Costa Rica, where he ran the restaurant at the in Guanacaste, and then opened up an open fire restaurant called Botanika outside of San José, which was one of New Worlder’s Best New Restaurants when it opened. When he told me he was moving to Columbus I was completely surprised, but I immediately thought that it was one of the smartest decisions any chef I’ve ever met has made. I can tell just from my interactions with him over the past year that he is happier. He went to cook in a city that appreciates what he can do and not to win awards and recognition, though he is getting it anyway. It was a decision to move his family there so they could live a happier life. So many young chefs tell me they want to open in New York or somewhere because it is their dream. Really, that’s your dream as a cook? Shouldn’t it be to make good food that people enjoy and provides you a comfortable life? That can be New York or San Francisco or London or Tokyo, but it doesn’t have to be. You can cook from anywhere. There are cities like Columbus everywhere. Why not open in Trujillo, Peru instead of Lima? Or Manaus instead of Sao Paulo? Every cook I know that’s moved outside the centralized media market, outside of the industry bubble and found their place has been a thousand times happier and they are cooking better food for it. Fyr, Sebastian’s restaurant, has been getting great reviews in local media and he has been bringing a lot of prominent Latin American chefs to Ohio to cook at the restaurant, such as Costa Rica’s Pablo Bonilla and Panama’s Mario Castrellón. It’s kind of weird. These are guys I know from Latin America an have written about a lot that are suddenly in Columbus. It’s kind of two worlds colliding for me. I grew up here and went to college here. It’s basically all I knew until I was in my 20s. I’ve talked a lot on this podcast about growing up completely disconnected from where the food I ate was coming from. On the episode with, who runs Chef’s Garden in northern Ohio, I talk about how there weren’t any farms around. There were just corn and soy fields you drove past on the highway. And all of the restaurants were chains and concepts. I started writing about food in Ohio when I was 19, I think, and it wasn’t really until then that I started questioning things. A culinary movement was just beginning there then, with, now a well-known ice cream purveyor, opening in the There were a handful of fine dining restaurants that were being vocal about supporting local farms, and after I left it just kept kind of evolving. There are really great restaurants there now, both at the high and low end. My old neighborhood is full of Nepalese, Mexican and Salvadoran restaurants, and there has been a lot influence from North Africa and Southeast Asia elsewhere in the city. There are still too many concept restaurants for my taste, but there are more restaurants that are created organically and have creative food with good ingredients and nice drinks to balance it out. It’s a very different place from where I grew up and it’s because of people like Sebastian moving there and bringing new ideas.
    1h 13m 48s

The New Worlder podcast explores the world of food and travel in the Americas and beyond. Hosted by James Beard nominated writer Nicholas Gill and sociocultural anthropologist Juliana Duque, each...

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The New Worlder podcast explores the world of food and travel in the Americas and beyond. Hosted by James Beard nominated writer Nicholas Gill and sociocultural anthropologist Juliana Duque, each episode features a long form interview with chefs, conservationists, scientists, farmers, writers, foragers, and more.
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