Virgilio Martinez and Nelson Freitas

The best meets the best: Freitas in Peru for mentoring experience

S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Award winner Nelson Freitas travelled to Peru to be mentored by Virgilio Martínez and Pía León.

S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Award, 2022-23 winner Nelson Freitas recently travelled to Peru to cook with and learn from two of the world’s best chefs. 

In a trip organised by the Academy, Portuguese chef Freitas was mentored by chefs Virgilio Martínez and S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition 2022-23 Grand Juror Pía León, the team behind Central in Lima as well as other restaurants including Kjolle and Mil. Central was named the best restaurant in the world in 2023 by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants.  

During the trip, Freitas had the opportunity to cook with and learn from married couple Martínez and León, joining the team at Central for service both back and front of house, as well as gaining their insights on maintaining work-life balance in a demanding industry. 

He was also introduced to the network of producers that the restaurant and its research arm, Mater Iniciativa, work with, gaining a deeper understanding of the many layers of Peruvian gastronomy. A trip to Mil in Cusco further strengthened Freitas’ knowledge of the territory and its biodiversity.  


Competition applications open 

With applications open for S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition 2024-25, Freitas’ journey, as the best young chef in the world learning from the best in the business in Peru, is a timely reminder of the doors competing in and ultimately winning the Competition can open, as well as the educational, networking and mentoring opportunities offered by the Academy.

Are you a talented chef under 30? Learn more about S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition 2024-25, including how to apply.

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