Peruvian Feast

Peruvian Consul General Francisco Rivarola, right, sample's native foods

“Year of Peru Day” serves up the country’s music, art and sumptuous cuisine The…

Georgia (Oct 10, 2011)

“Year of Peru Day” serves up the country’s music, art and sumptuous cuisine

The  “Year of Peru Day” celebration at Kennesaw State on Oct. 5 presented a feast for the senses, engaging hundreds gathered in the Student Center’s University Rooms with the sounds, tastes, aromas and visual images of Peru. 

The formal kick-off for the 2011-2012 annual country study featured an elaborate spread of more than 10 national dishes from Peru; nearly an hour of lively Andean and Afro-Peruvian music; a display of original art, indigenous masks, textiles and artifacts; and photographic images of the country’s cities, coast and diverse landscapes that beamed continuously from two giant screens.

The event is one of dozens of activities —  lectures, special academic courses, study- abroad opportunities for students and faculty, films, performances, exhibits and weekly culinary features at the KSU Commons — being presented throughout the “Year of Peru.”

 “I’ve been on many university campuses and I can assure you that this is unique,” said Interim Provost W. Ken Harmon.  “[The scope of] this “Year of Peru” celebration reflects who we are at Kennesaw State. As a result of what we are doing today, a year from now, KSU and Peru will be closer neighbors and better friends.”

Peruvian Consul General Francisco Rivarola praised the university’s authorities for a “great choice” in presenting the “Year of Peru.”  “The university has gone through great lengths to present this opportunity to travel through the history, culture and diversity of Peru, including the contributions of our great Nobel Prize author, Mario Vargas Llosa.” 

KSU’s Chef de Cuisine Gary Coltek and visiting Peruvian master chefs Roger Arakakki of Sushi Ito and Luis Herrera of Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola presented a tasting of the country’s highly acclaimed cuisine — a major focus during the “Year of Peru.”  Visiting chefs from Peru and staff at the KSU Commons Student Culinary Center will prepare and serve Peruvian dishes on Fridays throughout the year.

The food was a major draw for Jasmine Covarrubas, a KSU junior and sociology major who has vacationed twice in Peru.  “I love the food because it’s familiar; it’s one of the closest [cuisines] to Mexican,” said the California native of Mexican descent who now lives in Powder Springs.  “This kind of event teaches about other cultures and opens people up to learn more about the outside world.”

Cousins Teresa Kelly of Marietta and Linda Middleton of Woodstock followed the music to KSU’s “Year of Peru Day” as fans of Atlanta-based Apu Inka, who performed Andean compositions on ancient Incan wind instruments, an Andean Wankara drum and Spanish guitars.   Members of the quartet also accompanied vocalist Wilma Cevallos, who performed songs reflecting Afro-Peruvian culture. 

“I’d heard them perform and didn’t want to miss them,” Kelly said.  “I like hearing different kinds of music.”  

Flanking the performance stage were two KSU-owned original sculptures by Javier Sequeiros Lucana of Cusco, Peru.  The artist uses scrap metal and other forms of industrial wastes to depict indigenous religious themes — one invoking the children of Pachamama (Mother Earth) to care for her, and another reaffirming Incan identity through a prayer to the Sun Wiracocha God, the creator of the Inca people. 

Ernesto Silva, assistant professor of Spanish and “Year of Peru” co-coordinator, also introduced a newly acquired painting by artist Teofilo Aquino Ipanque from Peru’s northern Catacaos District.  Titled “Las Cosineras” (“The Cooks”), the painting was created especially for KSU and will be displayed along with the two sculptures at the KSU Commons.

Silva, a native of Peru, has made several trips there since planning for “Year of Peru” began more than a year ago.  He has accompanied and facilitated arrangements for KSU administrators, faculty, staff and students traveling to the country.

KSU President Dan Papp, who had just returned from a week of meetings with academic, government and business leaders in Peru, thanked Silva for his invaluable efforts to establish relationships with the country and produce “an incredible celebration of an incredible county.”

“If you have not visited Peru, be sure to get it on your bucket list,” Papp urged the audience.

-- Sabbaye McGriff 


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit