Francis Mallmann, Master of the Fire Pit

A nomadic chef with a philosophy who brought back traditional Argentine cuisine

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Widely regarded as one of the most influential chefs in Latin America, Francis Mallmann is one of the leading figures behind the internationalization of Argentine cuisine. A unique character (traveler, poet, romantic) who built his very own style around the use of fire.

Moreno y López, Colonia Suiza, San Carlos de Bariloche (2021-02-08/2021-02-11) by Diego TorchiaGustar

Francis Mallmann was born in Buenos Aires, but grew up in Patagonia near the lakes of Bariloche. Here he was imbued with a culture and way of life that were intimately connected to nature and the outdoors, and left an indelible mark that shaped his approach to cooking.

Restaurant Corte Comedor (2020-11-11) by Leo LibermanGustar

Fire

Deeply rooted in Argentine food culture, his signature style as a chef is defined by the creative use of fire and related cooking techniques. Chargrilling, ember roasting, cooking a la plancha, spit roasting, barbecuing... and a host of other methods of his own.

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A return journey

Francis Mallmann traveled to France as a very young man to train with the masters of nouvelle cuisine. Upon his return to Argentina, he began to gain fame for his talent in the kitchen, but within the confines of French culinary rules, which he ended up being at odds with. 

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In the nineties, he took a radical turn toward a more primordial style of cooking, based on Argentine and Latin American products and traditions, and inspired by the flavors and aromas of his childhood in Patagonia, with the rite of fire at its core.

After this change of direction, he was awarded the Grand Prix de l'Art de la Cuisine by the International Academy of Gastronomy in 1995 for an astonishing menu where every dish from the starter to dessert was made from Andean potatoes.

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Having gained recognition in the nineties after various television appearances, Mallmann made his mark at the start of the 21st century with programs such as 'Los Fuegos' (The Fires) that saw him return to his native Patagonia to cook his own versions of typical dishes from this southern and Andean region.

Espigón en el lago Nahuel Huapi, Bariloche con nieve, San Carlos de Bariloche (2021-02-08/2021-02-11) by Diego TorchiaGustar

Amid the snow, in between poetry readings, philosophical musings and glasses of wine, Mallmann crafted himself into an enormously popular and influential figure of new Argentine cuisine. His appearance on the Netflix series 'Chef's Table' turned him into a household name. 

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A nomad and wanderer, Mallmann has left his mark on restaurants all over the world, from Mendoza and Buenos Aires to São Paulo, New York and France. Without a doubt, the most iconic of them all is the one located in the Uruguayan town of Garzón.

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Both his restaurants and his famous outdoor events have a very particular aesthetic, a kind of rustic elegance contingent on antique kitchen utensils and furniture from times past, a hallmark of the 'Mallman universe'.

Credits: Story

Editing and texts: Diego Marinelli/Images: courtesy of Elgourmet.com, Garzón

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