The most interesting things being done with meat in South America at this very moment aren’t happening in the beef temples of Buenos Aires. They’re not happening in the open pit asados of Mendoza or Salta or the parrillas of Uruguay or the churrascarías of Brazil. They’re happening in Peru, the country with the lowest meat-eating index in all of Latin America.
Specifically, they’re happening around a large table in a back room at Osso, a butcher shop on the outskirts of Lima, inland across the traffic clogged artery of Avenida Javier Prado and beyond the dusty brown hills in the residential district of La Molina. This is where butcher Renzo Garibaldi is doing things with meat that no one here or anywhere has ever seen or thought to do.
Six foot two with a shaggy goatee and a Paul Bunyan build, Garibaldi, the son of textile entrepreneurs, took a job at Sushi Samba while studying international business in Miami. When he moved back to Lima he enrolled in a culinary school and later took a job slicing fish at Costanera 700. He moved to the US to be a part of Gastón Acurio’s team at La Mar in San Francisco and while there, he took a class with master butcher Ryan Farr of 4505 Meats. Everything changed. He fell in love with meat. He became fascinated with the art of the cut and the anatomy of cows and pigs. He soon quit La Mar, landed an apprenticeship with Farr and immersed himself with some of the world’s best butchers. He moved to La Granja Baradieu in Gascogne, France for a stint with the Chapolard brothers to master charcuterie and pig butchery, then to New York to work with Joshua Applestone at Fleisher’s. Wanting to bring a touch of that meat culture home, he and his wife moved back to Lima and opened Osso in the upscale suburb in mid-2013.