Pía León and Virgilio Martínez
The roots run deep: Chefs Virgilio Martínez and Pía León’s flagship restaurant, Central, is an ode to Peru in all forms. The dishes celebrate the unique landscapes, history and traditions of their homeland by using an abundance of locally-sourced produce.
Peruvian pantry: After years of exploration, guided by Mater Iniciativa – the arm that researches Peruvian ingredients, spearheaded by the powerhouse pair and Martínez’ sister Malena – Central’s plates are groaning with incredible biodiversity. The tasting menu features the finest food that land and sea have to offer: scallops, squid and clams come fresh from the coast and the Amazon, while the Sacred Valley offers up pork belly and goat’s neck.
Who’s in the kitchen? Sweethearts of 50 Best, the husband-and-wife team were married just four days after Central’s first appearance on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list in 2013. Nearly 10 years later, Martínez and León have had their fair share of success, with the opening of Mil in the Andes and Kjolle in Lima alongside an international outpost in Tokyo called Maz. With León also voted as The World’s Best Female Chef 2021, they show no signs of slowing down.
Sustainability at heart: While the menu represents Peruvian ecosystems at their best, the team at Central focus strongly on sustainability. Recycling, composting and closing the loop on waste ingredients all come second nature. Guests are given an insight into this diverse culinary world just by walking to the front door – taking them through a vegetable garden with over 100 plant species.