Location: Salt Lake City
Why He's Amazing: Because he's serving up incredible ceviche and his takes on other classic Peruvian dishes in landlocked Utah.
Culinary School: Le Cordon Bleu (Las Vegas)
Background: J&G Grill (Park City, UT); Trader Vic's (Las Vegas)
Quintessential Dish: Ceviche tasting: Cebiche Clásico, with sweet potato and Peruvian corn; Cebiche Chifa, with wonton strips, roasted peanuts and corn nuts; and Cebiche en Ají Amarillo
Why a cebicheria: While Perez was growing up in Las Vegas, his stepfather had a Peruvian restaurant. "I followed in his footsteps."
On Peru's National Dish: "Cebiche is a very simple thing to do; it's all about the fresh ingredients. We try to stick to the Peruvian preparation, but we do infuse flavors from other cultures that immigrated to Peru: Chinese, Japanese, African, Spanish." For example, the beef in his Chinese-influenced lomo saltado is marinated in soy sauce, vinegar and Peruvian spices, and served with steamed rice.
Beverage Program: In addition to wine, beer and pisco sours, Perez serves the nonalcoholic chicha morada, a sweet purple corn drink flavored with pineapple, cinnamon and clove.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.