After closing its doors for a brief moment, Peruvian Chef Virgilio Martinez’s awarded restaurant, Central, opens its doors once again at a brand-new location over the Barraco neighborhood of Lima, Peru –It was previously located at Miraflores District.
The new establishment, which opened on June 28, features an inside ingredient-research lab known as Mater Iniciativa, a garden with diverse plants from the region, and a décor and menu that resonate with the essence of Peru’s indigenous roots.
“At this new site, we have the potential to be better, the chance to continue growing, to be creative and have the area needed to experiment, to process, to keep working hard, to be more organized,” told Chef Martinez and his right hand and wife Chef Pia Leon to Eater.
The relocation of Central, ranked as the 6th best restaurant in the world by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, is part of an ambitious project, by Chef Martinez, Chef Leon and the scientific-research project behind its ingredients, Mater Iniciativa, which seek to turn its new location into a gastronomic journey through the different regions of Peru.
“Our collaborate team works hard to create links, and tries to make visible those elements that in daily life not everyone can see,” states Central on its “About Us” page.
The first floor of the new building welcomes Central’s guests through a walk across its green garden and a glance at Mater Iniciativa’s installations. On the ground level, there is a plan to open a bar called Mayo, which will feature cocktails from all of the chef couple’s restaurant. And last, the second floor of the establishment will be turned into Chef Leon’s very own restaurant, to be named Kjolle when open.
Central, established in 2008, has been awarded four times as “Best restaurant in Latin America” by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, but its popularity skyrocket when it was it was featured, alongside with Chef Martinez, on an episode of a Netflix original series “Chef’s Table.”
Chef Martinez is known for connecting his dishes with the forgotten, or unexplored, cooking practices and ingredients of his country –including those form the indigenous people of Peru. Today, the international chef with training in Europe is owner of other projects like Senzo, a collaboration with Orient Express Hotels located in the city of Cuzco; three branches of a franchise he named Lima, two located in London and one Dubai; and Mil, located in the Andes.
Without doubt, Chefs Martinez and Leon are turning their restaurants into gastronomic embassies of Peru. The success comes from the originality, yet, simplicity of ingredients they hand pick from the sea to the Amazons to the Andes.