50 Best Masterclass: try cooking Virgilio Martínez and Pía León's dishes from Central at home

Mark Sansom - 26/07/2019

In the second of the 50 Best Masterclasses held at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, Peruvian chefs Virgilio Martínez and Pía León gave the audience a taste of some classic dishes from the Central menu. Here’s how to make them at home

Central, the Lima restaurant ranked as No.6 in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019 list and No.2 in Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants 2018, is a shrine to Peruvian produce. Its menu, named ‘Ecosystems’, takes diners on a topographical journey from high up in the Andes, to sea level in the Pacific Ocean. As it traverses the country, it makes use of indigenous ingredients, serving dishes representative of the region, giving a taste of how locals have eaten for centuries.

For their masterclass, they served two dishes from the mountains: an authentic, fragrant broth and a tuber dish steamed in a salt crust. Some of the ingredients may be tough to find outside of Peru, but substitute with local alternatives for your own take on the emblematic Central dish.

Pachamanca broth with tubers in huatia


For the Pachamanca broth

Ingredients (Serves 10)

250g Beef bones (cut into 2 inch chunks; ask your butcher)
70g Chincho leaves (can be substituted with flat-leaf parsley)
70g Huacatay leaves (can be substituted with coriander)
70g Paico leaves (can be substituted with tarragon)
100g Yellow chilli paste
50g Yellow chilli pepper (raw without seeds)
10g Garlic cloves
50g White or red onion, cut into small dice
1l Water
1 pinch ground cumin
1 pinch oregano


1. Roast the beef bones in the oven at 190°C for about 20 minutes, or until they are golden brown.
2. Blend the chincho, huacatay and paico leaves with the yellow chilli pepper (paste and raw unseeded) and half of the garlic cloves.
3. Stir fry the chopped onions.
4. Once it is brown, add the roasted bones and the blended leaves. Let it simmer for a few minutes and add the water. Let it boil once and season with salt, pepper, cumin and oregano.
5. Let it reduce for 15 minutes at a medium heat.
6. Strain the broth with a fine sieve. Serve warm.

For the tubers in Huatia


1.5kg Potato
500g Salt
150g Chaco powder
10 Tubers (variety of small sizes)


1. Clean the potatoes and pass them through a juice extractor. Mix the pulp of the potatoes with salt and chaco powder. If the dough is firm, add a bit of the potato water to make it soft and malleable.
2. With a piece of the dough, shape the bottom of the huatia. Place as many small tubers as you like and top them with more dough.
3. Place the huatia in the oven at 200°C for 20 mins with no humidity and medium ventilation if possible.
4. When the huatias are ready, cut them in half to take the cooked tubers out and serve with the broth.

Now watch the highlights from the 50 Best Masterclass series in Signapore:

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