Meet Francis Mallmann, Argentina's Fiery Chef

His famous restaurants are just another reason to visit Argentina

Dinner Hosted By Francis Mallmann And Paul Qui - Part of The NYT Cooking Dinner Series - 2016 Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival Presented By FOOD & WINE
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Not only is Francis Mallmann one of the most famous people in Argentina, but he's also one of the best-known chefs in South America. His fiery cooking style has introduced diners around the world to the tastes of his native Patagonia, which informs every dish he creates.

How He Got His Start

He was trained in the kitchens of Europe, traveling to France to learn alongside notable French chefs, then returned to his native Argentina, where he operates several of his restaurants.

Not only is he famous in the kitchen, but Mallmann has also starred in the television series about gourmet cooking called "Fires of the South" and co-authored a book titled "Seven Fires."

Mallmann says in the book that his culinary career began at an early age. He grew up in a log house in Patagonia, a rural part of Argentina known for its volcanoes. "In that house," Mallmann writes, "fire was a constant part of growing up for my two brothers and me, and the memories of that home continue to define me."

He became well-known early in his career for his gourmet haute-French food but broke from this style to return to the techniques he learned growing up. He's served dishes to famous personalities, such as Madonna and Francis Ford Coppola, and gained international fame with his television show.

He also appeared in an episode of the American documentary Netflix series "Chef's Table," which profiles world-famous chefs and their techniques.

Author of "Seven Fires"

The title of the book refers to the seven types of grilling techniques that use a flame: The parrilla (barbecue), chapa (cast-iron griddle or skillet), infiernillo (little hell), horno de barro (clay oven), rescoldo (embers and ashes), asador (iron cross), and caldero (cooked in a pot).

The sumptuous-looking memoir-slash-cookbook has almost as many recipes for roasted vegetables, appetizers, and salads as it has for beef, chicken, pork, lamb and seafood. Carnivores and vegetarians will find plenty of menu offerings that are unique to the Patagonian way of cooking, including burnt carrots with goat cheese, parsley, arugula, and crispy garlic chips, caramelized endive with vinegar, and burnt oranges with rosemary.

Mallmann's Personal Life

Although he still lives in the small town in Patagonia where he grew up, Mallmann is a world traveler who speaks Spanish, English and French fluently. He trains apprentice chefs from all over the world in his Patagonian kitchen. Mallmann is the father of six children. 

Mallmann's Many Restaurants

The Argentinian tradition of using fire and cast-iron cookware is included in all of Mallmann's restaurants, most of which are in South America. They include 1884 Francis Mallmann, in the Argentine wine region of Mendoza; Patagonia Sur in Buenos Aires; Siete Fuegos in Mendoza; and Hotel & Restaurant Garzon in Uruguay. 

In 2015, he opened Los Fuegos by Francis Mallmann at the Faena Hotel in Miami. This was Mallmann's first restaurant outside South America, but it features staples of Argentine cuisine on the menu.

He employs the same fire-and-skillet cooking techniques in his Miami eatery as he does at all of his restaurants.