Virgilio Martinez & Josean Alija for one day only in London! 24th September 2017

During the Gelinaz Upper Austria, Virgilio talked to me about the dinner which I am so much looking forward to:  Two of my favourite chefs – Virgilio Martinez (Central, Lima – Peru) and Josean Alija (Nerua, Bilbao – Spain) are joining their forces for a day of cooking together at Lima Floral on 24th September 2017  for lunch and dinner.

They both are two of the world’s best chefs and great friends but their cooking style and background are pretty different, so I am really curious about this dinner which will be very pleasant but at the same time very challenging for both of them. I talked with both chefs and here is what they say.

Josean Alija. Photo: Andoni Epelde

What are the things that Josean believes unite him and Virgilio and what does he see as the biggest differences?

“We share the passion to make our guests happy with our food. Our cuisines are based on exclusive products and different techniques. The type of ingredients we work with and the compositions are very different but we both enjoy creating a nice balance. In my cuisine there are very few ingredients and in Virgilio’s there are many ingredients but with an essential finish. He has worked very hard to rediscover products from different areas of Peru and bring them closer to society, and this is a luxury for the diner. It’s an opportunity to try exclusive products and delicate compositions that without doubt remain in your memory. His cuisine fascinates me, it’s a cuisine that makes you feel good and  transmits happiness.”

And how does it see it Virgilio?

Virgilio Martinez. Photo: Jimena Agois

“Peruvian and Basque are two strong cuisines, tastewise, the culture is so involved and the sense of teritory is always there. But we are not the traditional cooks that represent classic or conservative Peruvian Basque marriage …. we do some modern, some tradition, we play, we taste, we follow recipes, sometimes we don’t ….and so on…

There are clear differences in what we do and we are ready to show them. I can’t tell you how will Josean describe his preparations for this London occasion, but I am looking forward to seeing the sea food and his amazing simplicity here, his magic of  “less is more”.”

What can we expect from the London jam session?

Cod kokotxa, grilled velvet crab and pilpil (Josean Alija) Photo: courtesy of Nerua

Josean Alija: “Cooking at Lima Floral with Virgilio is for me an opportunity to show my cuisine in London. Ours are two cuisines with a very strong personality, showing the identity of each territory and all the products that make those territories different from many others. Without a doubt, it will be a unique and unrepeatable dinner in which guests, apart from discovering products, will hopefully have lots of fun. It is an unprecedented tuning. People have to come open to try two cuisines from two very different parts of the world.”

Extreme stems by Virgilio Martinez. Photo: Brick Delgado

Virgilio Martinez adds: “For Josean and me, this dinner will be about stepping out of our own comfort zones. To create something special, we thought, first of all, to avoid the long menus where we would need to involve a good amount of people in the service, and since at Lima Floral we have a casual atmosphere we had to think and work out something that goes well with the given environment – so it will be all about having fun, interacting with people, and showing a different side of what we do at our restaurants back home (Josean and Nerua and I at Central). When we do things at Lima we do them differently. Most of all we care to make our guests happy. Same applies to the guest chefs – we are not telling them what to cook, how to cook etc., what we try is to provide all the tools to get out of the chef something we don’t get to see usually in his kitchen. Josean and I will cook in the same week, before the London event, also at Nerua in Bilbao. But Nerua is a more formal place and also the concept of the dinner, which is part of Josean’s  Ongietorri series, is completely different. I will cook there the dishes from Central and we will have a long menu. The dinner at Lima Floral will be a more fun experience!”


That’s all for now. If we made you curious and if your taste buds are ready for a challenge,  try to get a booking as long as there are still some places available – for lunch or for dinner. See you at Lima Floral!

Check more about Josean Alija here and about Virgilio Martinez here.

Ceviche at Lima Flora.

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