Peruvian chef Virgilio Martinez unveils the exciting, innovative tasting menu of his acclaimed Central restaurant in his new Phaidon cookbook, which will impress gastronomes and satiate the appetites of armchair travellers alike.
Taking the #1 position in Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants for two consecutive years, Martinez's signature restaurant Central is testament to his culinary exploration of his homeland and his passion for local indigenous ingredients, both eloquently captured in his new book.
Supported with 150 vivid photographs by photographers Ernesto Benavides and Jimena Agois and written in collaboration with the food and travel writer Nicholas Gill, the beautifully designed book gives incredible insight into the huge natural diversity of Martínez’s homeland, plus the exquisitely crafted dishes served in the restaurant.
The scene is set with Martinez's honest and inspiring introduction, detailing his indirect journey into the kitchen and how he fell in love with the hugely varied landscape on his doorstep, which enabled him to became one of the most pioneering chefs working in tune with his natural environment: "At Central we cook ecosystems. The plate has to communicate what we experience in nature," he explains.
Here's a look inside Central restaurant and how some of the beautiful dishes are created:
Cooking at Altitude
As per the restaurant menu, each chapter explores a different altitude of the Peruvian landscape, from the Pacific Ocean up to the Andes and down to the rainforest, along with its produce, highlighting recipes and ingredients, and including personal essays about Martínez’s journeys and recipe development.
The book concludes with an extensive glossary of Peruvian ingredients, native plants and species for those new to the culinary heritage of the country.
Whilst this probably won't become one of your tried and tested recipe books, it certainly deserves hours of pawing over the rich visuals and absorbing the inspirational journey with one of the best chefs in the world.