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She is 27 years old, has worked with the best chefs in the world and today is the head chef at Central

On August 15, reservations were opened at Central, the restaurant in Virgilio Martínez and Pía León, which since last June has been at the top of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. In a few hours, the October reserves were sold out, and in a few more days those for November and December as well. With capacity for 50 diners in its three rooms, we can say that the best restaurant in the world, which is Peruvian, will close in 2023 with a full house, and a long waiting list.

The team led by Marvic Medina does have a tough job, amidst the challenges that Central’s new head chef faces every day. And it is not easy to be one of the strong arms of chef Virgilio Martínez, and keep the entire process in line: from organizing the kitchen staff, supervising supplies, procedures and everything that involves serving four types of tasting menu daily ( Mater World, Uneven World, Mater Heights and Creativity of the Day). You have to respond to high expectations, your own and those of your diners.

Marvic Medina is not yet a well-known face on the local circuit. She joined Central at the beginning of 2023 and in April she was officially presented as leader of that kitchen, strengthening the team that also includes the Korean Sang Jeong and the Argentine Bernabé Simón Padrós, project managers.

At 27 years old, the young Peruvian chef reveals a remarkable resume. She studied at Le Cordon Bleu Peru, and from her first year she sought to add internships outside the country: first, at the Sofitel hotel in Rio de Janeiro, then at the DOM restaurant in Sao Paulo, and finally at La Gloria, in Lima. She was 19 years old, had completed her studies and was eager to learn, so she tried her luck by sending e-mails to restaurants in France: they responded to her about the Le Meurice hotel (two Michelin stars) by Alain Ducasse and she did not hesitate; she spent six months there. She then went to the Plaza Athénée (three Michelin stars before Ducasse left it, in 2021). Regarding this experience, she admits that it was hard: a male team, she was a foreigner in the midst of French rigor; They made her life difficult, but then she found very good friends.

“In four years I started as an intern and ended up as a game leader.” But Marvic aimed for more, she wanted to be a chef, that’s why she took on another new project, also from Ducasse, called Sapid. In this corner of vegetable cooking, focused on seasonal products, she led a team of 10 people, most of them women. “The project started from scratch, right in the pandemic. It was the first time that she put everything together (…) It was a very sensitive kitchen, about the product, you had to have a ‘feel’. The people who arrived were mostly women who had that chemistry.”

And so they spent eight years of learning in Paris. On a vacation trip to Peru, Marvic flew to Cusco and went to Mil to live the experience of the Andean environment and ecosystem created by Martínez. A few months ago, already enrolled in the Central team, she repeated it: “This year I went to the immersion [en Mil]. Everything makes so much sense and coherence: the corn, the herbs, everything. [lo que crece alrededor] They then use it for the menu you eat. I left happy.”

A reading of Central

Virgilio Martínez is the brain at Central; In the kitchen, Marvic Medina takes off the burden of seeing day-to-day details, especially in the executive area (if the potato that was ordered arrived, or if the meat or fish came in), although he also develops a creative aspect, along with to the chef. “What is special about Virgilio is his vision of things, beyond the creation of a dish.”

Last June, Marvic traveled with the Central creative team to Valencia and was present at The World’s 50 Best Restaurants gala. The closest experience she had to this award was when the Plaza Athénée team – when she was a member – celebrated having placed among the top 15 on the list. This time, the excitement of being part of the best restaurant in the world was indescribable. “Today we are happy but with our feet firmly on the ground. The effort pays off and we are very proud of what Virgilio and the guys who have been working with him for years have achieved,” says the chef, whose goal now is to consolidate the team to be a much more solid kitchen brigade and thus continue moving forward.

“I don’t think it’s going to stop. Virgilio always changes something, and it’s so fun not knowing what’s going to happen and going at his pace. My challenge is to be able to reach a point where I can understand it without having to speak, as happened to me before with the other chefs. “Communicate only with our eyes,” says Marvic, who after spending just over half a year at Central, defines the essence of the restaurant like this: “For me Central, Kjolle or Mil are like a trip through Peru: you enter and understand what it is. the country for every climate, every step, every part [del menú]. Peru is very diverse, they say, but being here you understand it: products, heights, tableware made by artisans. Everything is coherence, and you see Peru here.” That’s how it is.

Source: Elcomercio

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