How Chefs Virgilio Martínez And Pía León Run Top Restaurant Central

In 2013, just four days after first appearing on the list of The World's 50 Best Restaurants, sweetheart-chef-duo Virgilio Martínez and Pía León tied the knot. Not only are the not-so-newlyweds still married, they continue to run one of the world's top global restaurants while building a family together. Located in Lima, Peru, the couple's restaurant Central ranks second on the list of The World's 50 Best Restaurants in South America and fourth in the world (via The World's 50 Best).

Central is the couple's flagship restaurant and is situated in Lima's Barranco neighborhood (via The World's 50 Best). The restaurant is famous for its altitude-based menu concept, an approach that uses locally-sourced ingredients from different areas of Peru. To honor their home country, the couple strives to develop dishes that represent their country's diverse landscapes while emphasizing sustainability and highlighting Peru's rich culture, history, and traditions. 

A taste of Peru

For this couple, teamwork is essential. In an interview with 50 Best, Pía said, "Each one respects the other's ideas and listens to what the other has to say, and this way we get results. I really love working with Virgilio. What's more, I appreciate him because we share the time to look after our son, otherwise, it would be very complicated."

To elevate Peru's culinary scene, Central relies on family to succeed. Virgilio's sister Malena helps develop new ideas for the menu and leads teams across Peru in search of new ingredients. Out of the 180 ingredients used at Central, half of them are unknown (per Eater). Melana describes her role as the first filter of the restaurant which focuses on identifying species from different areas of the country. Then, whatever has potential is brought back to the kitchen, Virgilio and Pía experiment by using cooking traditions from different parts of Peru.