Short BioChef Virgilio Martinez is a Peruvian Chef and Restaurateur. Born in 1977, he is considered one of the main carriers for spreading the word about Peruvian Cuisine to the World. Cordon Bleu educated in Canada and United Kingdom he begins his career in well-known restaurants such as: Lutèce (New York); Can Fabes (Sant Celoni); and served as executive chef at Astrid & Gastón in both Bogotá and Madrid.
There are two important things you need to know about Chef Virgilio Martinez Veliz-” He only has time to eat standing up and sleeps just 4 hours a day”
Time is precious for him and he is always busy running his Restaurants Central,Lima and Senzo and traveling across the Andes to find new and exciting ingredients he can use for his dishes.
At a first glance, Chef Virgilio is an ordinary chap with smiling nature, passionate and dedicated personality and very down to earth character. Some people even consider him ” too thin” to be a Chef. He likes to live and eat healthy, loves to use new modern cooking techniques in creating his dishes and source his ingredients from the nature’s best.
Martinez is currently chef and owner of Central Restaurante, his flagship restaurant located in the Miraflores District, Lima, Peru. In June 2012 he opened Senzo, a project in conjunction with Orient-Express Hotels Ltd., located in Palacio Nazarenas hotel in the city of Cuzco.In July 2012 he opened Lima, a modern Peruvian-style restaurant located in the Fitzrovia neighborhood of London. Lima was awarded a Michelin star in the 2014 Michelin Guide.
Easy questions to warm up…
How did you become a Chef ?
I’ve always liked to cook, but it never occurred to me that I could do this for a living. Fifteen years ago in Peru cooking was not a typical profession. So after giving a shot at a “normal” career here I decided to go for what I loved doing the most, and to do it I had to study abroad.
“Be true to yourself and where you come from.” How would you describe your character with 5 words?
Curious, energetic, creative, challenging, meticulous What are your weaknesses if any ?
I find it very hard to be organized at home, in contrast to the order I keep in my professional kitchens What do you see yourself doing in 5 years’ time?
I guess I will be always cooking, but I see myself in a more peaceful life, spending more time with my family between meal services More Professional questions… What qualities you value in most cooks ?
Creativity, intelligence, care, curiosity What mistakes in the kitchen you will never forgive ?
Lack of motivation Who is the chef you admire the most ?
Andoni Aduriz What would be your worst kitchen nightmare ?
A huge kitchen fire What is the secret of your success ?
My wife, Pia, who runs the kitchen at Central, and the rest of my team. More Personal questions… What are your favorite local specialty and International specialty?
What are your favorite local specialty and International specialty?
Local specialty: Tiradito (raw fish in leche de tigre)
International: any sashimi Which Cuisine is your favorite?
Japanese Which is your favorite dish?
Fish Tiradito What you do not eat?
There is nothing I would not try. What you didn’t like to eat as a child?
Beef brains Which is your favorite restaurant?
The Willows Inn on Lummi Island (Washington, USA) Which is your favorite holiday destination?
Thailand Which is your favorite drink ?
Homemade passion fruit soda What is your favorite activity ?
Running along the Malecon de la Reserva in Miraflores. Your favorite movie ?
Inception (2010) Your favorite cookbook ?
Simple French Food by Richard Olney More spicy questions… What is the most crazy thing you have done in your life?
Break my clavicle while skateboarding, twice. Have you done something in your life that you wish you haven’t and what was it?
There is nothing I regret, honestly. Who you would like to take out for a Dinner and where?
My mom, to try street food in Singapore. What and Who would you take on a desert Island ?
Pía, my wife. Who is the sexiest Celebrity Chef by your opinion?
No comments. Who would you like to be locked in the kitchen with, for one night (after service)?
My wife, Pia. Which is your favorite “ Soul food” dish that you’ve created and can we have the recipe?
“Extreme Altitude” native potato puree.
1 kg native potatoes
100 grams butter
200 grams Cushuro
1 bunch Huacatay (Tagetes minuta)
5 ml olive oil
1 bunch fresh Mullaca
4 dried Mullaca roots
Salt as needed
Steam the potatoes for one hour. Peel them while hot. Once cool grate them and add the butter in a skillet to obtain a smooth paste. Add salt to taste.
Heat the cushuro to 75ºC. Add the olive oil and stir.
Remove the huacatay sprouts and set aside.
Very finely chop the fresh mullaca, dry and set aside until ready to plate.
Scrub the dried mullaca roots until clean. Set aside until ready to plate.
Place the potato purée on a warm plate. Top with the warmed cushuro, the huacatay sprouts and chopped mullaca. Garnish with the mullaca root.