Peruvian chef known for rainforest-to-table cuisine receives Latin American icon award

Chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino of Amaz, Malabar

Peruvian chef, conservationist and humanitarian Pedro Miguel Schiaffino is being honored as an "icon" by Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants Awards for his life's work working with indigenous communities and for his preservation efforts of the Peruvian Amazon. 

Schiaffino has been named the recipient of the American Express Icon Award, which spotlights individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the restaurant industry and who have used their profile to raise awareness and drive positive change. 

Schiaffino is the chef and owner of Malabar and Amaz, both in Lima, and is best known for pioneering the culinary exploration of the Amazon rainforest and for his "jungle cuisine." At Malabar, the menu features local, native ingredients. Amaz is dedicated to studying and promoting the Amazon's biodiversity and preserving its ingredients and foods, be it Amazonian river snails or juane, a package of chicken and rice wrapped in bijao leaves.  

His work is aimed at taking a sustainable approach to the Amazon's resources. 

His non-profit group Despensa Amazonica works to reverse the effects of overfishing and support indigenous communities. 

"The biodiversity and indigenous communities of my country are two of my greatest inspirations," he said in a statement. 

"We can talk about individual icons, but I also think an icon can be a whole people, a whole community or indigenous community. I'm humbled to be given a platform to help people see the Amazon differently." 

The award was announced ahead of the Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants awards 2019, which will be held October 10 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. 

Malabar is currently No. 39 on the list, and Amaz sits at No. 48.