Virgilio Martínez Véliz

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Virgilio Martínez Véliz
Virgilio Martínez Véliz.JPG
Born (1977-08-31) August 31, 1977 (age 43)
EducationLe Cordon Bleu
Culinary career
Cooking stylePeruvian cuisine

Virgilio Martínez Véliz (born August 31, 1977) is a Peruvian chef and restaurateur. He is considered one of the new generation of Peruvian chefs promoting the spread of Peruvian cuisine. He is known for his use of applying modern cooking techniques to indigenous Peruvian ingredients. Marie Claire magazine has called him "the new star of Lima's gastro sky."[1] On April 29, 2013, his flagship restaurant, Central, entered as number 50 in The World's 50 Best Restaurants as awarded by the British magazine Restaurant. In 2014, Central jumped 35 places to number 15, winning the "Highest Climber" award,[2] and later that year was named Best Restaurant in Latin America.[3]


Martínez studied at and received his certifications at Le Cordon Bleu in Ottawa and London. During his formative years he worked at well-known restaurants such as Lutèce (New York City); Can Fabes (Sant Celoni); and served as executive chef at Astrid & Gastón in both Bogotá and Madrid.

Use of Peruvian ingredients[edit]

Martínez is known for his use of unique ingredients such as a potato grown at 5,000 meters above sea level;[4] kushuru (cushuro), an edible cyanobacteria harvested in high-altitude wetlands; and wild varieties of kiwicha and quinoa. He is an aficionado of the use of salt, and cooks with more than 120 varieties in his restaurant in Lima.[5] In 2013, Martínez helped form Mater Iniciativa, an interdisciplinary group of professionals who travel throughout Peru in search of unique ingredients which Martinez in turn incorporates into his cooking.[6][7] In March 2018 he opened a laboratory in the middle of the Andes and works with local families to catalogue different crops.[8]

Current projects[edit]

Martínez is currently chef and owner of Central Restaurante, his flagship restaurant located in the Barranco District, Lima, Peru. In June 2012 he opened Senzo, a project in conjunction with Orient-Express Hotels, located in Palacio Nazarenas hotel in the city of Cuzco.[9] In July 2012 he opened Lima, a modern Peruvian-style restaurant located in the Fitzrovia neighborhood of London.[4] It was awarded a Michelin star in the 2014 Michelin Guide.[10] In July 2014 a second Lima restaurant was opened in the Covent Garden district of London and dubbed Lima Floral.[11] On March 5, 2017, a third Lima restaurant was opened in Dubai at Citywalk Phase 2.[12]

Piranha smuggling incident[edit]

On May 9, 2019, different news sources reported that Martinez had been stopped at Los Angeles' airport for trying to enter the US with 40 piranhas in vacuum-sealed plastic bags inside his personal luggage.[13] After being questioned by airport officials about what he was bringing into the country, Martinez allegedly replied to be carrying "flesh and bones",[14] which caused him to be detained and taken into an interrogation room at the airport. Martinez was released after showing airport officials photographs of the meal he was planning to cook with the carnivorous fish.

International gastronomy events[edit]

Martínez has participated at various gastronomic congresses and events.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Castro, Alvaro (November 2011). "Delicioso Peru". Marie Claire (Spain): 207. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. ^ "Central". The World's 50 Best Restaurants. 2013. Archived from the original on 2013-06-20. Retrieved 2013-06-12.
  3. ^ "Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants".
  4. ^ a b "FT Foodies: Virgilio Martínez". Financial Times. July 6, 2012.
  5. ^ "Gourmet chefs prescribe a single-origin dose of salts". The Age. March 10, 2013.
  6. ^ "What is Mater?". Mater Iniciativa.
  7. ^ "Una web peruana muestra las historias de nuestros insumos culinarios". El Comercio. April 2, 2013.
  8. ^ "Virgilio Martinez on Why the Future of Peruvian Food is Produce". Vogue Man Arabia. 2018-03-12. Retrieved 2018-03-13.
  9. ^ "Height of luxury in the Andes". Condé Nast Traveller. June 21, 2012.
  10. ^ Marsden, Sam (September 26, 2013). "Michelin Guide 2014: Peruvian restaurant in London is first to win Michelin star". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
  11. ^ "New Openings: Lima Floral". The Daily Telegraph. August 5, 2014.
  12. ^
  13. ^ "A world-famous chef was stopped at Los Angeles' airport trying to bring 40 vacuum-sealed piranhas into the US". Business Insider. May 9, 2019.
  14. ^ "Chef peruano Virgilio Martínez fue retenido en EEUU por llevar 40 pirañas". La Republica. May 9, 2019. Retrieved May 9, 2019.
  15. ^ "Mesamérica". Archived from the original on 2013-06-28. Retrieved 2013-06-11.
  16. ^ "Peixe em Lisboa". Archived from the original on 2013-05-11. Retrieved 2013-06-11.
  17. ^ "Melbourne Food & Wine Festival". Archived from the original on 2013-05-09. Retrieved 2013-06-11.
  18. ^ Identità Golose
  19. ^ "Festival Cultura e Gastronomia Tiradentes". Archived from the original on 2012-10-22. Retrieved 2013-06-11.
  20. ^ Festa a Vico
  21. ^ Ñam Santiago
  22. ^ Savour
  23. ^ Gulfood Trade Show 2012
  24. ^ Paris des Chefs 2012
  25. ^ Contreras, Catherine (January 25, 2012). "Perú cerró festival en Francia". El Comercio. p. C9.

Further reading[edit]

  • Virgilio Martinez with Nicholas Gill. "Central." Phaidon Press, 2016. ISBN 978-0-7148-7280-3.
  • External links[edit]