Meet Ingrid Pereyra: Chiclayo's Culinary Craftswoman
The constant of New York City is its stories; everybody has at least one. Peruvian chef, Ingrid Pereyra is no different as she has walked her own path to build upon her abilities to one day become an integral part of New York’s multi-faceted culinary culture. Her journey began in Chiclayo, Peru as a young girl who traveled with her father to receive the local fishermen’s catch of the day. “My father didn’t cook, but he would always teach me about ingredients and remind me how lucky we, Peruvians, were to have access to fresh foods.”, she recounted. The actual cooking she learned from her grandmother as she eventually followed suit to the delight of many of her family, who requested her specifically to make dinner for them.
At thirteen years old, Ingrid discovered that she was lesbian. This was in a time that while recent, was not as tolerable as it is now. Still, she chose to tell her parents and while they weren’t enamored with the news at first, they still chose to support her. Ingrid’s path took her to the United States ten years later, a decision supported by her father no matter how unconventional it seemed to leave the small city of Chiclayo. It was then that she got the encouragement from friends and contemporaries to participate on the hugely popular competitive cooking show, Master Chef Latino, three years later.
Ingrid quickly impressed judges and fans alike with her wit, improvisation, and her signature blend of Peruvian and Italian delicacies, a style inspired by her love and marriage to her Italian wife, Allison Calegari. But while experiencing some of the best moments of her professional career, she received the worst news of her personal life: her father had passed away. A devastating moment coupled with an equally painful decision: “It was an incredibly difficult moment where I faced the most difficult decision in my life: leave the competition, go back to Peru, say goodbye and pay respects to the person that was a driving force in what I am today, or continue on Master Chef Latino in order to honor him and fight for the honor my dreams”. It’s a decision no one wants on their hands, but Ingrid played the hand she was dealt and risked it all and subsequently continued in the competition.
In the end, it wasn’t meant to be for her on Master Chef Latino, but this roadblock hasn’t deterred her drive as the former Master Chef prospect has her own master plan in motion. Ingrid, along with her wife, are co-founders of The Hungryluxe, a design studio that will provide services such as concept design, menus, events and visual identity for brand-new restaurants.
A steam locomotive now inhabits Ingrid Pereyra’s path, gaining momentum at every juncture. The direction is determination, the coal is love, and the passengers are her family and supporters who are most certainly going to be taken on quite a ride.
You can follow Ingrid @ahungrylatina.