VIR­GILIO MARTÍNEZ

Condé Nast Traveller Middle East - - Tastemaker - – Michael Booth

In the new fron­tier that is South Amer­i­can gas­tron­omy, this culi­nary as­tro­naut has pushed his na­tive Peru to the top of the pile. The oblig­a­tory Net­flix Chef’s Ta­ble doc­u­men­tary re­vealed his eye-open­ing ad­ven­tures ex­plor­ing the re­mark­able pro­duce of Peru – pota­toes grown at 1,525m, sap from Ama­zo­nian trees, bac­te­ria-filled al­gae – and the vi­tal role of his wife Pia and sis­ter Malena in help­ing to or­gan­ise 180 indige­nous in­gre­di­ents into oth­er­worldly plates of food. At his flag­ship restau­rant Cen­tral in Lima, ev­ery dish is an ecosys­tem evok­ing a spe­cific place and, this be­ing Peru, an al­ti­tude, an ap­proach he is repli­cat­ing with lo­ca­tions in Cuzco, Lon­don and Dubai. Fresh-faced 41-year-old Martínez (liv­ing that high up clearly keeps you look­ing young) trav­els fur­ther into the outer reaches of what it is to be a chef, of what food can be.

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