Sushisamba – the pioneers of Peruvian, Brazilian and Japanese cuisine – is providing diners with the opportunity to experience meals featuring ingredients, grown and harvested in the Peruvian rainforest by the Asháninka, Peru’s largest indigenous group.
Sushisamba chefs have created a unique limited-edition menu as part of Earth Week blending the classic flavours of Sushisamba’s cuisine with rich rainforest ingredients including chocolate, coffee and dried fruit sourced and produced by indigenous Amazonian communities.
The Earth Week Menu will be available in all of Sushisamba’s restaurants in London, Amsterdam, Las Vegas and Miami until 30 April.
Sushisamba’s global Earth Week celebration aims to inform, educate and inspire diners while providing support to help halt rainforest deforestation in the Amazon.
A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Cool Earth charity and their efforts to support the Asháninka community, as well as contribute to Cool Earth’s goal of halting deforestation and climate change.
Last year Cláudio Cardoso, executive head chef of Sushisamba London, travelled to the Amazon rainforest with Cool Earth, who set up the relationship between Sushisamba and the Asháninka producers.
He was there to learn more about the indigenous people of the Peruvian Amazon and how Cool Earth empowers indigenous people to stop further rainforest destruction at the hands of loggers.
Cláudio Cardoso explains: “It’s not just about saving the rainforest, it’s more about bringing awareness about the people who live there and creating conditions for them to have longevity. With the indigenous people there, the rainforest will be safe.”
While the menu at Sushisamba may be described as “lavish”, meals made by indigenous people in the rainforest are very simple.
The Asháninka diet pretty much consists of sweet potato and yuca (cassava), which they also mix together to make an alcoholic drink Massato (above). Seasonal fruit such as mangoes, banana, plantain, also feature. This is supplemented by whatever they can forage – berries, mushrooms, maggots and insects – or find when hunting and fishing.
Everything is boiled or wrapped in banana leaves and cooked directly in the fire.
Having experienced first hand the lifestyle of the Asháninka people and their diet, Cláudio Cardoso now works alongside Cool Earth, helping to write nutrition plans and sourcing as many ingredients as he can to use in Sushi Samba.
On his return from the rainforest last year, the chef created the infamous dessert, Welcome to the Rainforest, which is now a permanent fixture on the London menu of Sushisamba. The chocolate-based dessert, with its colourful blooms, is designed to symbolise the ground of the rainforest.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea