The Best Chef Awards 2022 contest placed Virgilio Martínez in 15th place and Central, his restaurant, was chosen as the best in Latin America in the last edition of the 50 Best Latam. Without a doubt, Virgilio has also become a representative of a new generation of Peruvian cooks. These are 10 facts about his life and career.
1. His first contact with the kitchen was with his grandmother, and not because his grandmother was a great cook, but because when he was punished he was sent with her to keep calm and so he ended up moving the spoon. “I started cooking with her. But since it was a matter of punishment, I never considered it good, ”he once pointed out.
2. He wanted to be a professional skateboarder, he began to travel and compete, but an accident that left him with a dislocated clavicle and one or two broken bones, when jumping a ramp, put an end to this dream, but this would be the starting point for the universe by Virgilio Martinez.
3. He tried to study law because he had a family of lawyers. Besides, he liked to read and they thought he would feel great in law school. During the first days in that place, he realized that it was not for him, he bought a ticket and escaped.
4. It was the book “White Heat” by the English chef Marco Pierre White, known as the terrible child of the kitchen, that motivated him to travel the world in search of new experiences.
5. Virgilio knows of chefs who have no limits in their treatment, proof of this is the scar on his left ear caused by the impact of an ashtray. “These are the hard stages. You come across a cook who goes a little too far. I always told myself that it would never be like this. No matter how they trained you, there are no excuses for treating people badly, ”he said in an interview.
6. Virgilio worked in different restaurants and in 2007 he traveled to Madrid to take charge of the Astrid y Gastón branch, this is one of the reasons why he recognizes Gastón Acurio as his teacher.
7. He does not recognize himself as a chef, he considers that this “title” makes him see them very far. It is known that there are hierarchies in the kitchen and it is clear who is the boss, but he prefers to be just another cook so that anyone can approach him, with great confidence, to tell him about his concerns.
8. The Peruvian dishes that Virgilio enjoys the most are cebiche, carapulcra in winter and tiraditos in leche de tigre.
9. “Virgilio” is a documentary directed by Argentine Alfred Oliveri, which tells his story, his dreams, his frustrations and his projects.
10. A place that inspires him and that he considers his home is Barranco, he does not move from there because the people are friendly, there is a lot of culture and art.