In a city filled with filled with transcendental ceviches, Chef Javier Wong’s is so next level it was deemed “The Tastiest Item On Earth” in 2014 by The Guardian’s Chowtzer Fast Feast Awards.
Wong, who calls his approach “la perfección de lo simple,” boasts a seven-month wait list for a table at Chez Wong, his tiny Lima huarique (speakeasy-type restaurants advertised through word-of-mouth that have existed for centuries in Peru). The restaurant contains just eight tables, he is the only chef in the kitchen, and there is no menu. But if you’re lucky enough to get in (it’s only open for lunch plus there’s that whole wait list thing), you’ll get a taste of heaven.
To hear Wong describe it, making ceviche ain’t no thang. He claims there are no secrets to his recipe other than freshness, and maintaining the right balance between the salt and the acidity of the lime. His recipe only contains five ingredients: sole fish, limes from the small town of Chulucanas (which he says don’t grow anywhere else in the world), red onions, and salt and pepper. “I am a cook, not a wizard,” he shrugs, when asked to explain why his ceviche tastes so good.
But those who wait for months to try a bite of his food know otherwise. The city of Stamford, Connecticut even declared January 9th “Chef Javier Wong Day” in honor of his skills in the kitchen. And this weekend, NYC will honor him and his accomplishments at the Premios Tumi, an award ceremony celebrating the achievements of Peruvians and Peruvian-Americans who excel in their fields. The awards, now in their 20th year, also bestows scholarships to outstanding Latino students.
As for Wong, he’s taking all the accolades in stride. “I am simply Javier Wong,” Voices of NY quotes the chef as saying, when asked about his “world’s best” title. “You have to forget the cult of personality, which only awakens the ego. The award is for my motherland, for my country. I am just a being who has been chosen to do something, nothing more.”
The XX Tumi USA Awards will be held Saturday, September 26th at 6pm, with an after party at Raymi, including Peruvian food and drinks. For more information on tickets and times, check out the XX Tumi USA Award page here.