The Best Female Chef Award series recognizes talent to help draw attention to gender disparity in the hospitality sector. The award is empowering, which encourages female chefs to excel in the male-led hospitality sector. Peruvian chef, Pía León, has been named The World’s Best Female Chef of 2021. She’s the head chef/owner of Lima’s Kjolle restaurant, and co-owner of Central. Honourably recognized, Chef León has brought in new energy to professional kitchens this year.
Chef León Journey
Women are in charge of preparing food traditionally, however the professional kitchen has long been a male-dominated space. Chef León’s journey has been a battle to evolve in her role as a female chef in a professional kitchen.
“I’m happy – after so much work, it’s the perfect moment, the perfect platform to demonstrate that although it can be difficult at times, if you have the will and you know what you want, things do happen, in their own time and at the right moment,” says Chef León to The World Best 50.
During the last 15 years, chef León helped build Peru’s stellar culinary reputation by opening restaurants that bear her name. The award-winning Peruvian chef built her first restaurant, Central, later expanding to the secon, Kjolle. She has turned experience into wisdom and redefined success based on her priorities.
With her husband Virgilio Martinez, they grew a flagship restaurant into a benchmark, not only for Peruvian gastronomy, but globally. Central won the title of The Best Restaurant in Latin America three times between 2015 and 2017.
In 2018, Chef León launched her first solo venture, Kjolle, in Peru’s capital. The restaurant doesn’t follow a set menu, but rather cuisine that focuses on seasonal ingredients and native foods from the country. Named after a flower that grows high up in the mountains, Kjolle serves dishes drawing on seasonal ingredients, and regional cuisine, to express León’s culinary personality. Kjolle also received the Highest New Entry Award on Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019 list 15 months after opening.
50 Best Restaurants Award
The World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards ceremony will take place in Antwerp, Flanders on October 5th 2021.
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.
FEATURE IMAGE: John Fornander, Unsplash