Virgilio Martinez was the national skateboarding champion of Peru in the 1990s but, after an accident, decided to study law in Lima. During a holiday job, he discovered his passion for cooking, dropped out of university, and travelled to Canada and then London to become a Cordon Bleu graduate. After working for 10 years in Canada, Europe and Asia he became head chef of Gaston Acurio's restaurant in Bogota. Returning home, he opened his own restaurant, Central, in the Peruvian capital in 2010, recently voted the number one best restaurant by Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants list and 4th position in The World's 50 Best Restaurants ranking. The 37-year-old chef also has two restaurants in London - LIMA and LIMA Floral - celebrating informal modern Peruvian cooking. LIMA is the UK's first and only Peruvian restaurant to be given a Michelin star. Martinez also runs Mater Initiativa - a foundation for research into, and protection of, Peruvian food culture.
Luciana Bianchi is a food writer and trained chef with a background in molecular science. She has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants, cooked for celebrities, interviewed most of the top international chefs, and has published work in 14 countries. Luciana is a member of the Guild of Food Writers UK, a contributor to the website of The World's 50 Best Restaurants, and a writer for the Italian International Food Guide, Identita Golose.
A frequent traveller and food researcher based in the UK, she divides her time between Latin America and Europe. With more than 20 years experience in the field, she is a gastronomy consultant for M&C Saatchi, and an Associate Lecturer at the Basque Culinary Centre. Her articles and micro-blogging have thousands of followers on social networks. Luciana is the co-author of the award winning book Brazilian Food, also published by Mitchell Beazley.