Qunuq: a benchmark of fusion cuisine in Machu Picchu
Qunuq is the restaurant inside Sumaq Machu Picchu hotel, and it is considered a benchmark of fusion cuisine in Machu Picchu. Its dishes and local ingredients make this restaurant a true delight. But nothing would be possible without the resident chef Ribelino Alegria, who creates art with his hands.
Ribelino Alegria was born in Curahuasi, province of Abancay (Apurimac), he is the middle brother of 9 siblings. Its great love for cooking began when his mother, Nicolaza Alegría, taught him how to cook Apurimac traditional dishes. This left an indelible mark in Ribelino.
Ribelino had a hard time in the culinary world, because at that time, people used to believe that cooking was only meant for women. But, as the years went by, he realized that this was not an obstacle and he started to believe that cooking was in his future and natural environment.
His first experience in the kitchen was in Puno. He worked as a dishwasher for a small paycheck; so he taught it cooking would be a better financial opportunity, since he would earn more as a cook. After some time, he became the chef at a mine in Arequipa, located 3, 000 m.a.s.l. He worked there for five years.
Then, he worked for another five years at a mine in Moquegua, and because his work was very good, they took him to Cajamarca. After working in 3 big kitchens, all located at very high altitudes, Ribelino went to Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel in 2008. A that time, the hotel had been open for a year; and he worked as an assistant chef for two years. His talent led to an immediate promotion, so by the third year, Ribelino had the chef position. He understood the hotel and products in the area, and together with his experience, he became the recognized resident chef at this hotel.
“What I like most about Sumaq is the ingredients used in the kitchen, the research on all inputs, the creation of new dishes and the support we give to agricultural communities in Cusco”. We buy from them directly; we don’t contact any other supplier”.
Ribelino says that his passion has helped the hotel find new ingredients from sustainable providers, who are located in the communities of Cusco and Apurimac.
For example, in Cusco they have found 3 types of organic strawberries and cherry tomatoes, which are constantly used in the menu. He also visited Piric, located in Ollantaytambo, where he buys edible flowers and herbs for infusions; or he goes to Quillabamba where he buys delicious oranges, bananas and passion fruits.
Ribelino is committed to his kitchen and his team. Those who know him can see his passion for his work, a person that took Peruvian ingredients to the next level, achieving a perfect mix, reflected in every dish.