Peruvian Chef Pía León was one of those kids that from an early age that knew exactly what they wanted to do when they grew up. As a kid, Pía has said that after school, she used to help her mother prepare desserts for her catering business. When she finished high school, she studied culinary arts at the Cordon Bleu Academy in Lima, Peru.
“Since I was a child, I really enjoyed cooking, eating and sharing with all the family at the table. ”I think this is the most important reason I became a chef.“
The 34-year-old’s career as a chef took off after working in several impressive international restaurants such as Ritz Hotel in New York, El Celler de Can Roca in Spain and Astrid y Gastón in Peru. After that, Pía worked at Central restaurant in Lima, Peru in 2009. There, she rose to head chef and collaborated with Virgilio Martinez, who later became her husband and partner in many successful gastronomical projects such as the Mayo Bar in Lima and the Mil in Moray, Cusco.
Both she and her husband were featured on an episode of Netflix‘s “Chef’s Table”, which showed how the couple managed the restaurant Central, which was also featured in another series “Down to earth” with Zac Efron. The two opened Pía’s solo new Peruvian restaurant named Kjolle, which uses ingredients from Peru‘s great biodiversity to offer a unique culinary experience. At her restaurant, there is no set menu, as every day the menu is created based on the available seasonal local ingredients.
“For me, being a chef means fulfilling my mission in life. I don‘t think I could be anything else with the same conviction. The advice I would give to all aspiring chefs is really simple: work hard, be honest with yourself, and enjoy the journey.”
This year, the World‘s Top 50 named Pía León the World’s Best Female Chef in 2021. Making history as the first Peruvian chef to attain that prestigious title. The organization selected her after tasting all her exquisite dishes made with sourced local ingredients from Peru biodiversity.