The Chefs Changing Argentinian Cuisine

A revolution led by women

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With every passing year, Argentinian gourmet cuisine has seen a growing focus on its home-grown assets, centering the country’s diversity of traditions and produce. Women are at the forefront of this movement: they are chefs from different generations, showcasing their work in restaurants, on TV, and on social media, and revolutionizing the country’s eating habits. We meet some of them here, but there are many, many more.

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Mariana "China" Müller

In her restaurant, Cassis, not far from Lake Gutiérrez on the outskirts of Bariloche, Mariana "China" Müller is transforming Patagonia’s gourmet culture, blending produce and traditions in her search for a contemporary cuisine with a local feel.

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Together with her husband, botanist Ernesto Wolf, she grows local fruits and vegetables in her own vegetable garden, and uses them to vitalize dressings and imaginatively Patagonian dishes. 

Ingredients such as elderberry, red berries, lamb, trout, wild flowers, and fruits of the Alto Valle feature heavily in her approach to cooking.

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Narda Lepes

An absolute reference for the new generation of Argentinian chefs, in 2020 she was elected the best chef in Latin America by "Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants." She is, no doubt, one of the people responsible for driving Argentinian cuisine to look within, at its traditions and products.

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Julieta Oriolo

This young chef, who trained under leading chefs such as Beatriz Chomnalez, is giving a new vibe to the traditional cuisine that was brought to Argentina by immigrants. In particular, she focuses on the Italian cookery of her own ancestors. Old family recipes with a modern twist.

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Oriolo plays around with products such as radicchio (which was not commonly used in the local cuisine) and has found a myriad of novel ways of making pasta. In her antipasti, she blends Italian tradition with Argentinian sausages and cheeses.

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Soledad Nardelli

A renowned chef who ran the multi award-winning restaurant Chila for several years, Soledad became a leading figure in the research and communication of Argentina’s culinary diversity.

Horticultura orgánica (2021-01-21/2021-01-24) by Leo LibermanGustar

She spent several years traveling around the country, exploring each region’s produce and traditions, later sharing her findings on TV programs such as Flavors of my Country (Sabores de mi Tierra), Flavors from the Coast (Sabores del Litoral), A Journey to the Tierra del Fuego (Un Viaje a la Tierra del Fuego), and The Flavor Explorer in Catamarca and La Rioja (Explorador de Sabores, Catamarca y la Rioja).

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In common with so many other chefs of her generation, she is focused on highlighting the different traditions that exist in Argentina’s culinary culture.

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Pamela Fernández

Born in Cordoba, Pamela has lived in the Tierra del Fuego region for several years. Her approach to cooking is highly personal, attempting to capture the landscapes and aromas of the country’s southernmost region. 

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In her recipes, she finds unusual ways of cooking the traditional produce of the Tierra del Fuego region, such as red berries, chocolate, spider crabs, lamb, Patagonian toothfish, shellfish, and salicornia, a type of sea asparagus that grows in the southern marshlands. 

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María Estela Tapia

María Estela has followed a similar path to that of her colleagues who are bakers and pastry chefs. She began her career reflecting on the role that chefs such as Narda Lepes were playing in Argentina’s new cuisine, and made a name for herself as a pastry chef.

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This sweet potato crumble is an excellent example of María Estela Tapia’s approach to dessert making: technically brilliant, made following local traditions, and using in-season produce.

Credits: Story

Editor and text: Diego Marinelli

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