Pía León: “Women Have to Want to Belong in the Industry”

(Fine Dining Lovers) Anointed Latin America’s Best Female Chef three years ago, Pía León now adds the title of world’s best to an impressive CV. Cook, wife, mother and a twin, little stands in the way of the Peruvian chef-patronne of Kjolle restaurant in Lima’s hip Barranco neighbourhood.

Today known for an informal approach to fine dining, whose solid foundation respects Peru’s diverse pantry, León’s love for cooking began with tempting sweet treats. Her first star dish was lemon pie that she’d prepare for her family at the tender age of seven. A few years later, she garnered a reputation among school chums for selling slices of her delicious carrot cake during breaktime.

“When I was little, I used to make desserts and sweet things, and kind of illegally sold my carrot cake bathed in white frosting at school in secret. I say ‘kind of illegally’, because the teachers themselves would buy my cake,” she says. 

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