Central's Virgilio Martínez Will Open First Restaurant in Asia This Summer
The news comes just a week after Martínez announced he'd be closing his renowned Lima restaurant, Central, after ten years.
One of the most celebrated chefs in the world is making some major moves this summer.
"Ichu will present much-loved Peruvian dishes in a comfortable, welcoming, casual environment," Martínez told Forbes. "We want guests to feel as though they have been to Peru and experienced comfort food. [It] will celebrate Peru's no-fuss dining culture with a menu that showcases traditional local ingredients and cooking techniques." According to the article, three members of the Central team will be part of the venture.
Last week, the chef announced on his Instagram that Central would be closing after almost ten years as one of Latin America's most groundbreaking restaurants. (For three years in a row, it has been ranked as the top restaurant in Latin America by the World's 50 Best Restaurants organization, and it is consistently named one of the top five restaurants in the world.)
"On June 9th it will be our last service here and we could not be more grateful for all the beautiful people we attended in the past, and will attend until that date arrives," Martínez captioned the post, which was also written in Spanish. "We’ve spent the last 5y thinking about a place more aligned with our philosophy and way of life and finally we will get a new start. New challenges will come and we will keep being the same, only better."
In February, the chef opened Mil in Cusco, where he draws from ancient Incan cooking techniques and sources native Andean ingredients through Mater Inciativa, Central's research arm.
“We don’t only get excited about all these ingredients, but getting to know each other,” Martínez told Food & Wine in February. “We’re aware that we’re losing our fields as well as our traditions. We have to defend our natural ecosystem.”
For Ichu Peru, Joyce Wang has been tapped to design the interior, which will draw influences from Peru, just like the cooking. To Martínez, this type of restaurant makes perfect sense in Hong Kong.
"Lima and Hong Kong have a lot in common,” the chef told Forbes. “They are both vibrant cities and its people are obsessed with food. Our Ichu team looks forward to introducing authentic Peruvian cuisine to Hong Kong diners and becoming part of the city’s exciting food scene."