In my native home of Lima, Peru I began helping around the kitchen from an early age. Our get togethers centered around a large meal with aunts, uncles, cousins, and even strangers. The kitchen became the epicenter of these gatherings and I grew a fondness for the community it inspired, and of course Peruvian food. When I moved to the United States, I was on my own. I often prepared the Peruvian dishes I learned as a kid to connect to my home and share Peruvian culture with new friends. I never thought at the time, however, that my passion for cooking Peruvian food could be much more than a hobby.
Looking for a fulfilling career, I enrolled in a nursing program shortly after moving to Portland. After several years of intense study, I couldn't help but feel that something was missing. I wanted to give back to the community, but did not find the inspiration in nursing that I was searching for. I decided that medicine was not the answer. Needing to pay the bills, I kept a few odd jobs and did a lot of soul searching. What was I passionate about, but could also develop into a profession? Then the lightbulb went off...Cooking! Kichana was born. I could share my passion for Peruvian cooking by bringing people together and satisfying not just their stomachs, but also their souls.
I honed my skills by hosting dinner parties where ideas were shared among friends and the vision for Kichana took shape. By bringing people together with food, I uncovered an opportunity to reveal something new about our community and ourselves. Meeting new people and discovering their talents has brought validation to this dream and reinforced my passion for bringing Kichana to life. I am fortunate to have traveled many places across the world. In all of my travels, I find inspiration in witnessing the unifying power of a shared meal - it is something that brings people of all cultures together. Through Kichana, I hope to share my spirit and a delicious meal with you. ¡Buen Provecho!
- Christian Perez, Owner / Chef