Virgilio Martinez

 Credits Brambilla-Serrani

 Credits Brambilla-Serrani


Av. Pedro de Osma 301
Barranco, Lima

Born in 1977, Peruvian chef Virgilio Martinez marks the new age of Latin American Gastronomy: a vibrant scene of ideas, colours and creativity pushed forward by young chefs on a mission to cook up their countries and spread their cultures through kitchens around the world. No one embodies this philosophy quite like Martinez who, after training as a lawyer in Lima, landed his first cooking job in Canada where he enrolled in culinary education at Le Cordon Bleu. This study continued in London before he began his training in restaurants around the world, including stints working for Gaston Acurio in Madrid, Bogota and as executive chef at his famed Astrid y Gaston restaurant in Lima.

In 2010 he stepped out on his own to open the Central restaurant in the trendy Miraflores district of Lima. It’s a unique restaurant in which Martinez, armed with years of research into the indigenous ingredients of Peru such as quinoa, fruits and wild herbs, takes diners on a tour of the different altitudes across his county with dishes that present ingredients from levels way above and below the sea. The restaurant quickly became one of the most exciting culinary destinations in Peru and the hard work of constantly travelling to research new ingredients from across his home country paid off in 2014 when Central placed 1st on Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants List.

In 2012 Martinez stepped further into his role as an ambassador for Peruvian gastronomy around the world, opening the Lima restaurant in London which within just one year became the first Peruvian restaurant to receive a Michelin star. Between his time spent cooking, creating and presenting research at international congresses around the world, Martinez has also managed to launch the Mater Initiative - a research project that sees the Martinez and a group of specially selected researchers travel across Peru to document hundreds of different ingredients, sharing information about their uses, their history and, often, their cultural significance online through an open, free platform.

Martinez ended 2014 with a bang after opening Lima Floral, his second restaurant in London. And in 2017 Central is still the best restaurant in Latin America, ranking 5th into the global overall World's 50Best. In 2018 Central is again one of the best restaurants in Latin American (2nd) and 6th in the World. In the summer of 2018 the location changes, moving to a new prestigious place in Barranco. Next to it there’s Kjolle, the more casual restaurant run by his wife Pía León

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Ryan King

Ryan King is an international food journalist living in Milan. He's a web editor at Fine Dining Lovers and prides himself on being a down to earth Yorkshire man who will eat anything once. Twitter @RJKingSays