Pía León named World’s Best Female Chef

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Pía León named World’s Best Female Chef 2021 ahead of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards ceremony in Antwerp, Flanders in October

Related tags: 50 Best, worlds50best, Female chefs, Chef

Peruvian Pía León, chef-patron of Lima’s Kjollel, has been named The World’s Best Female Chef 2021 ahead of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards ceremony in Antwerp, Flanders in October.

León, who also co-owns of Central in Lima with husband Virgilio Martínez, received the award, which is sponsored by Nude Glassware, in recognition of her ascent to the very top of the gastronomic world, as well as her dedication to gender parity in her kitchen.

She was previously named Latin America’s Best Female Chef in 2018, an accolade that honours the achievements and impact of a female chef in the region and her contribution to Latin America’s gastronomic scene.

Kjolle, which marks León’s first solo endeavour, also received the Highest New Entry Award on Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019 list when, just 15 months after opening, it debuted at No.21.

After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu in the Peruvian capital, the Lima native began her career in the city’s kitchens.

After taking up a position at Central in 2009, she rose through the ranks to become its head chef. Together with Martínez, they developed their flagship restaurant into a benchmark for gastronomy not just in Peru, but across the globe, with Central named The Best Restaurant in Latin America three times between 2015 and 2017.

With a name taken from a local orange flower that grows at high altitude, Kjolle eschews a set menu to create dishes that express León's own culinary personality in accordance with seasonal ingredients and the indigenous food of the region.

"The most positive thing that came out of such exceptional and difficult times is that I have been able to continue working with a team of people who are first-class human beings," says León.

"They will see this award, as I do, as a great indication that we are on the right track for the future."

Previous recipients of The World’s Best Female Chef title include Daniela Soto-Innes, formerly of Cosme and Atla in New York, in 2019; the UK’s Clare Smyth in 2018; Ana Roš of Hiša Franko in Slovenia in 2017; San Francisco-based Dominique Crenn in 2016; and French chef Hélène Darroze in 2015.

Related topics: Chef, People

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