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Home GAMING Top Chef Doc, 'Virgilio' closes the San Sebastian Culinary Zinema

Top Chef Doc, ‘Virgilio’ closes the San Sebastian Culinary Zinema

Closing the sidebar of San Sebastián’s Culinary Zinema on September 23, Alfred Oliveri’s “Virgilio” tracks chef Virgilio Martínez, the genius behind one of the world’s best restaurants, Central, in Lima.

Doc narrates how the 45-year-old chef decides to embark on an expedition throughout his native Peru to investigate the origin of his ingredients in the context of his culture, his history and the richness of his land.

This experience changes him and his vision of gastronomy. Replaces Central’s traditional menu with its now acclaimed tasting menu that transports the diner through a multi-course culinary experience beginning with ingredients found below sea level to the Peruvian Amazon, its coastal foothills, its high valleys and the Andean peaks.

More than a culinary experience, it is a journey through Peru, its varied altitudes and terrains.

“I set out to make movies not just about food, but about the country, the culture, the politics and the identity that shapes a chef and his kitchen,” said Oliveri, whose production company, House of Chef, has produced a handful of documentaries. with a similar theme, two of which have premiered in San Sebastián.

Along with his scientific sister, Martínez also founded Mother Initiative, a research center in charge of documenting and experimenting with the native plants, tubers and seaweed that Martínez collects during his expeditions and, ultimately, extracting their culinary richness. His wife, Pia Leon, worked with him from the beginning and was named the best cook in the world last year. He also runs his own highly praised restaurant, Kjolle.

The documentary was filmed in part during the pandemic and recounts the difficulties they faced as they transitioned from Central to a delivery service to keep the lights on. His restaurant in the sacred valley of Cuzco, Mil, was closed for two years.

“Virgilio” culminates with the emotional reopening of Mil, exactly two years after the day the Peruvian government forced many establishments to close. There Martínez reflects on the journey that led him to found the number two restaurant in the world, Central. “His is a story of passion, creativity, intensity and also a touch of madness,” said Leon.


Courtesy of the Chef’s House


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