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Central takes top prize at one-off Latin America’s 50 Best Celebrations

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Chefs Virgilio Martinez and Pia León came out on top in the special celebrations of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants: Pasado y Futuro

For one year only, the team behind Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants took a different approach this time, diverting from the customary ranking and instead publishing a list of the 100 greatest restaurants in Latin America, created from the aggregation of the full voting data over eight editions of the ranking since the awards’ inception in 2013. The 2021 listing featured entries from 12 countries and introducing 21 new restaurants.

Chefs Virgilio Martinez and Pia León are honoured with the top spot for Central in Lima, Peru. Central is joined in the top three by fellow Lima restaurant Maido and D.O.M, located in São Paulo, Brazil.

It caps off a perfect year for Pia León who was also named the World’s Best Female Chef at the World’s 50 Best Restaurants in Antwerp, Belgium, earlier this year where Central clinched fourth place at the celebrations.

Extending the spotlight

“After a year of many challenges, it is with great pleasure that we present this special edition of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants and honour the gastronomy heroes who have worked relentlessly to support their communities and rebuild the sector,” says William Drew, director of content for Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants.

“We are excited to extend the spotlight to more than 100 restaurants and provide food-lovers and hopeful travelers with a powerful gastronomic reference point in this crucial next stage of recovery. After many months apart, we are delighted food communities were able to gather again in their respective cities to celebrate this special occasion in person.”

Special recognitions

Other awards handed out on a special night in Latin America’s gastronomy world include the One to Watch Award going to Anafe in Buenos Aires while Eduardo García of Máximo Bistrot in Mexico City, received the Chef’s Choice Award, voted for by his peers.

Celele in Cartagena, Colombia was handed the Art of Hospitality award while Corrutela in Sao Paulo, Brazil, was the recipient of the Sustainable Restaurant award.

Some special awards had been announced in advance of the event, including Marsia Taha of Gustu in La Paz, Bolivia, who was named Latin America’s Rising Star Female Chef. Rodrigo Oliveira and Adriana Salay of Mocotó in Brazil meanwhile were presented with the Icon award.

Argentina holds the greatest number of entries on the 2021 Pasado y Futuro list with 20 restaurants. Mexico follows closely with 19, adding new entry Deckman’s en el Mogor in Ensenada. Brazil claims 17 spots with five new entries, including Glouton in Belo Horizonte as the highest new entry, Soeta in Vitória, and Tordesilhas, Arturito, and Komah in São Paulo. Peru has 16 entries, followed by Colombia with 10. This year’s list includes 27 re-entries and 21 new entries in total.

Tina Nielsen