Chef Anthony Vasquez, 27, was born and raised in Peru, one of the worlds’ most diverse and eclectic food cultures. This early exposure to Peru’s unique melting pot of culture and cuisine fueled Vasquez to become a Chef and do his part to share his homeland’s cuisine abroad. As Executive Chef of Tanta in Chicago, Vasquez focuses on dishes iconic to Peru, such as cebiche, in addition to a number of lesser-known plates that showcase the multi-culturalism and biodiversity of the country.
Vasquez first studied restaurant management at Le Cordon Bleu in Lima before transferring to the prestigiousD’GalliaInstitutoGastronomicoand graduating in 2006. Upon graduation, Vasquezworked in a number of restaurants in Lima, including 5 Esquinas, where he rose to the position of Executive Chef.
In 2010, Vasquez took on the role of Executive Chef at famed South American Chef Gaston Acurio’s La Mar Cebicheria, located in Lima, Peru. During this time, Vasquez also spent time in San Francisco, CA, at the La Mar located there, acting as Kitchen Quality Controller. This experience at La Mar in Lima and San Francisco cemented his reputation for showcasing Peruvian seafood in unique and unexpected ways.
The Chicago-based Tanta—whose name translates loosely to ‘bread’ or ‘reunion’ in the native Andean language of Quechua—blends the comfortable, casual atmosphere of the original Tanta in Lima with the more upscale elements of La Mar. This fresh and vibrant new restaurant is the next step in the evolution of the AcurioRestaurantes concepts, created specifically for Chicago with the city’s residents and their tastes in mind.
Vasquez’ menu at Tanta will take diners on a voyage through Peru through its food. From the Pacific Ocean, through the Andes, to the desert, to the Amazon, Tanta will celebrate the diverse landscape and ethnicities that make up Peru’s culture. Emigrants from China, Japan, Spain, and Italy melded their respective dishes with the native Peruvian cuisine to create the unique melting pot of Peruvian cooking that keeps boiling to this day, which Vasquez is committed to highlighting in Chicago.
Vasquez has also spent the last few years traveling with Acurio and his team as they host “Cebiche and Pisco” parties around the world. Most recently, the team hosted the event as a part of the 2013 South Beach Food & Wine Festival in Miami, FL. These events, hosted by Acurio, serve to educate the public about the multi-faceted nature of Peru’s most famous dish, with preparations both classic and inventive, and how it pairs beautifully with Pisco cocktails. These highly successful events have brought awareness to Peruvian culture and cuisine throughout the world.