Day of the chef: cooking with Argentine identity

Day of the Chef

On Argentina’s vibrant gastronomic scene, October 20 is the Day of the Chef. Across the country, and the world, more and more cooks and restaurants are celebrating what each area has to offer, taking fresh new approaches and using innovative techniques to create dishes with real character, often conceived in close association with Argentine wine. Here, we celebrate the Day of the Chef with a brief – and far from complete – rundown of some of the most interesting restaurants and chefs across the country.     

Day of the Chef in Argentina

1- Florencia Lafalla and Emanuel Yañez García, Ánima, Bariloche

In the middle of the El Trébol Natural Reserve (Bariloche), one finds Ánima, the restaurant run by Florencia Lafalla and Emanuel Yañez García. Their contemporary Patagonian cuisine is inspired by local ingredients and cultivates a profound connection with nature. Their background features spells at different kitchens in Spain and after several years overseas, they decided to open their space in Bariloche. In 2023, they won the Prix Baron B, a competition that rewards holistic projects that reflect the gastronomic identity of an area.

Their menu features some iconic dishes such as omelette stuffed with barbecued trout, which is served with cream, homemade guanciale, pine mushrooms and spring onion. It also features Patagonia’s famous hares, deer, morelles and forest fruits. 

IG: @animarestaurante 

2- Francisco Rosat, Lo de Fran, Mar del Plata

More recommendations for Day of the Chef. Fran, as everyone calls him, is a passionate chef from Mar del Plata who in recent years has become a leading proponent of seafood at his restaurant Lo de Fran. He grew up in the world of Argentine fisheries: his father is a well-known distributor of seafood products. After years learning his trade in Europe, he returned to the city to open his own restaurant.

Rosat’s philosophy is simple but compelling: the fish must be fresh. His menu, inspired by his experience and local tradition (including fideuá and black rice), offers a range of unique dishes. We eagerly await the opening of Chipirón (a seafood restaurant in Mendoza run in partnership with Alejandro Vigil) and his arrival in Buenos Aires with a second Lo de Fran.

IG: @lodefrancocinademar

3- Jorge Monopolli, Kalma Restó, Ushuaia

Although he was raised in a gastronomic family, Jorge Monopolli decided to study geology before eventually becoming a chef. Following an internship at El Bulli, he returned to Argentina, where he found work in Ushuaia and decided to settle there. It would become the home of his restaurant Kalma, where he fuses a love of nature and the cuisine at the end of the world. His philosophy places great emphasis on local products and produce that can be gathered without harming the environment: algae, spider crab, sea bass, lengua de vaca mushroom, blackcurrant, cinnamon pepper, Patagonian lamb and more. 

IG: @kalmaresto

Day of the Chef

4- Sebastian Weigandt, Azafrán, Mendoza

An expert in the produce and techniques of the Cuyo region, today Sebastian Weigandt runs Azafrán, a restaurant that is one of the leading lights of contemporary cuisine in Mendoza. He previously worked at a number of different kitchens: Los Toneles, La Bourgogne Mendoza, and the Renacer and Achaval Ferrer wineries, among others. “Our cooking is based on transforming local ingredients into flavors and textures that defy the conventional. Our dishes combine tradition and innovation, memories and history, classic and modern.” Of course, the abundance of Mendoza is at his disposition: tomatoes, Lavalle goat, peaches, quince and much more.  

IG: @azafranresto

5- Javier Rodríguez, El Papagayo, Córdoba 

Born in Santiago del Estero, Javier Rodríguez spent a decade working at several renowned restaurants in Europe and Asia before returning to Argentina to open El Papagayo, his first restaurant in Córdoba. Today he has four: El Papagayo (whose menu changes every day), two Standard69s and DOC; 3 cafés and a boutique hotel, all in the capital of Cordoba. El Papagayo was voted Best Restaurant 7 years in a row, and Standard69 as Best Relaxed Restaurant for four years. Javier is also the president of the Bocuse D’or Argentine team and works as a consultant for different hotels in Asia and South America. 
IG: @elpapagayo69

6 Flavia Amad Di Leo, La Vida, Mendoza

Flavia Amad Di Leo is inspired by her Italian and Arabic roots; she trained in Mendoza, studied at Le Cordon Bleu in Miami and worked with chefs such as Daniel Boulud. Today, she runs the La Vida restaurant at SB Winemaker’s House and Spa Suites, where she offers a unique oeno-gastronomic experience. Her produce-focused kitchen uses sustainable ingredients and works in dialogue with the art on display at the hotel. The Chef’s Table experience celebrates local cuisine in 14 courses, while the 7-course menu is paired with Susana Balbo wines. She also runs the restaurant at the Osadía de Crear winery, where she has prepared a menu that gets the best out of the establishment’s wines. 

IG: Susana Balbo Unique Stays

Day of the Chef

7- Florencia Rodríguez, El Nuevo Progreso, Jujuy

From Buenos Aires by birth but Jujuy by choice, Florencia Rodríguez studied Political Sciences but always had a vocation for gastronomy. She worked at different restaurants in Buenos Aires and Europe before moving to Tilcara. Her restaurant is located on an old corner off the historic square which held the first general store in the region in the early 20th century. Her cooking is inspired by local rituals, Andean produce and ancestral cooking techniques.  

IG: @elnuevoprogreso

8- Patricia Courtois, Cinco Suelos, Durigutti Family Winemakers 

The executive chef at Cinco Suelos Cocina de Finca, the restaurant at Durigutti Family Winemakers  (recently chosen as one of the country’s Brand Ambassadors), Patricia Courtois, has prepared a range of special menus at the winery restaurant in  Las Compuertas, Mendoza. Especially notable is the History Menu, which pays tribute to the origins of wine across the world, wine in Mendoza and its immigrant influences and also the oenologist brothers Héctor and Pablo Durigutti’s passion for viticulture. Every glass evokes a different stage, every dish an era – each sip is a complete sensory experience in which the aromas combine with the flavors to transcendent effect.

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