World-Famous Chef Stopped at LAX With 40 Piranhas in Duffel Bag

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A worker displays a piranha for sale in on Nov. 20, 2013, in Manaus, Brazil. (Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images) and Chef Virgilio Martinez seen during a dinner event at Warwick New York Hotel on Oct. 17, 2015, in New York City. (Credit: Robin Marchant/Getty Images for NYCWFF)

A worker displays a piranha for sale in on Nov. 20, 2013, in Manaus, Brazil. (Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images) and Chef Virgilio Martinez seen during a dinner event at Warwick New York Hotel on Oct. 17, 2015, in New York City. (Credit: Robin Marchant/Getty Images for NYCWFF)

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PSA: Customs officers do not like it when you try to bring a duffel bag full of 40 vacuum-sealed, frozen piranhas into Los Angeles.

Virgilio Martinez, chef-owner of Central restaurant in Peru, who was featured in the third season of Netflix’s “Chef’s Table,” learned this lesson the hard way.

The chef landed at LAX this past week to cook dinners at Somni and at Vespertine as part of the Los Angeles Times’ month-long food festival Food Bowl. In his luggage when he landed were 40 piranhas.

“I was extremely obsessed about bringing piranhas because we serve piranhas in the Amazon at Central, so I said, ‘Guys, why not take a risk to bring piranhas to L.A.?’ ” Martinez said. “You probably have preconceived notions about piranhas because of movies but for me, piranhas, we go fish them.”

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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