Central, the highly anticipated monograph by internationally-acclaimed Peruvian chef, Virgilio Martínez, ranked #4 by the World’s 50 Best and #1 in Latin America will be out for sale on Monday 7th November. This exquisite volume follows the innovative and exciting tasting menu at his signature restaurant, Central, in Lima and is a visually rich celebration of the incredible diversity of Martínez’s homeland.
Like the tasting menu at Central, the book is organised by the altitudes of Peru, mimicking the breadth of the Peruvian landscape, from below sea level at the Pacific Ocean to the vertiginous heights of the Andes and beyond into the Amazonian jungle. Each chapter explores one altitude and its produce, presenting recipes and ingredients together with personal essays about Martínez’s journeys and recipe development.
Peru is renowned for the quality of its indigenous produce from avocadoes to quinoa, potatoes to maize, items that have become staples of other nations’ diets and valued for their nutritional properties. Motivated by an insatiable curiosity and a desire to convey the complexity of Peru, Virgilio is passionate about travelling the country and seeking out lesser-known ingredients in their natural environments. Peru is home to 84 of the earth’s 117 microclimates, giving life to an estimated 10% of all global species of plants and animals and Martínez and his team have amassed an unrivalled knowledge of the region’s biodiversity as well as its producers, growers, and farmers. As the chef himself says, “At Central we cook ecosystems. The plate has to communicate what we experience in nature”.
Centralfeatures 150 striking photographs of the wild Peruvian landscape including mangroves, deserts, mountains, and the high planes, alongside photographs of the beautifully crafted dishes served at Central. In the Ande chapter, Martínez describes the dish Ocas y Ollucos en Maras—the oca, a local tuber, is a hardy root vegetable that can flourish over 11,000 feet above sea level. Even higher in the Altiplano, topping off 12,500 feet above sea level, Martínez introduces readers to edible clay which he has taken back to Central and incorporated in a number of recipes, ranging from savory to sweet.
Written with food and travel writer Nicholas Gill, the book provides insightful texts that cover every aspect of Central’s cuisine, revealing the inner workings of Martínez’s restaurant kitchen, which also functions as a research laboratory. Rejecting any ingredients not native to Peru from industrial sweeteners to synthetic thickeners, Martínez offers a wonderfully rich introduction to the gastronomic biodiversity of this extraordinary corner of the earth. The book concludes with an extensive glossary on Peruvian ingredients, native plants, and species for those new to the culinary heritage of the country.
Beautifully designed,Centralwill take gastronomes and armchair travelers alike on a wonderfully vivid journey around Peru whilst giving an exclusive glimpse into the motivations and passions of one of the world’s very best chefs.
Central by Virgilio Martínez with Nicholas Gillis published by Phaidon 7 November 2016
150 colour illustrations | 256 pages | 290 x 250 mm | ISBN: 9780714872803phaidon.com