The Peruvian Chef Who 'Cooks Ecosystems'
Widely known for its ancient grains and superfoods, Peruvian cuisine is a melting pot of international influence and Incan traditions. From ceviche to cuy (guinea pig, which is a local delicacy), a trip to Peru can be planned around eating alone. Peruvian chef Virgilio Martínez, who helms the kitchen at Central, one of Lima’s most renowned restaurants, is motivated by an insatiable curiosity and a desire to convey the complexity of Peru’s natural environments.
Peru is home to 84 of the earth’s 117 microclimates, giving life to an estimated 10% of all global species of plants and animals, and Martínez is a master expert on the region’s biodiversity as well as its producers, growers, and farmers. "At Central we cook ecosystems,” says Martinez. “The plate has to communicate what we experience in nature".
Rejecting any ingredients not native to Peru from industrial sweeteners to synthetic thickeners, Martínez offers a rich introduction to Peru’s gastronomic biodiversity in the book Central. Beautifully designed, the book takes gastronomes and armchair travelers alike on a vivid journey around Peru, introducing the cultural heritage of the country and offering an exclusive glimpse into the motivations and passions of one of the world’s best chefs.