The London restaurant Kol, run by Mexican chef Santiago Lastra, won a Michelin Star, the most important international gastronomic distinction that measures the creativity, care and quality of establishments.
The French award praised the restaurant for its “Mexican soul with British ingredients”, describing Kol as a big and bold restaurant.
“The inventive and talented kitchen team take recipes rooted in tradition from various regions of Mexico to which they add their own creativity, while using top quality produce from the British Isles.”, referred the prestigious award.
Now, who is the Mexican chef Santiago Lastra?
Santiago Lastra: the cosmopolitan chef who has conquered the world
The acclaimed restaurant’s own page makes special mention of the special career that Mexican chef Santiago Lastra has carved out in the gastronomic field, highlighting that he has worked in professional kitchens since he was 15 years old, working in globally recognized institutions such as the Mugaritz restaurant, in Saint Sebastian.
The site reveals that for the last four years, Santiago has traveled the world (more than 27 countries in the space of three years) accepting invitations as ‘guest chef’ at glamorous restaurants such as ‘London’s Tate Modern’ and ‘Hija de Sànchez’ in Copenhagen.
He then returned to Mexico and led the launch of the NOMA restaurant in Tulum by Norwegian chef René Redzepi. At the same time, she traveled throughout the country researching and finding exquisite quality ingredients produced by small producers.
“My job at NOMA Mexico was as Project Manager, organizing logistics, research trips, we visited restaurants, markets, indigenous communities, and the truth is that I learned more about my country in those 9 months than in my entire life.“, he said in an interview.
The KOL portal mentions that after this experience, after traveling and learning about the traditions and personalities behind Mexican cuisine, Santiago realized that there were very few examples in the world of authentic Mexican cuisine; with many restaurants overlooking the intangibles that reveal their true quality.
In this sense, KOL alludes to a term born in Tulum, Mexico, formed by the ambition of being part of those few who manage to represent Mexico in an authentic way.
“A cuisine rooted in tradition, but always evolving and adapting, keeping an understanding of the landscape, culture and people at its core”, the portal ends.
Launching the British restaurant took more than two years for Santiago Lastra, who shared that during all that time he dedicated himself to developing the concept and traveling around England to meet producers, work with wild ingredients and understand how to translate Mexican concepts into products from the United Kingdom. United.
Mexican chef Santiago Lastra has also been recognized with the GQ Best Chef 2021 distinction.
In an interview for the YouTube channel Culinario Colorado, the Mexican chef declared:
“Gastronomy is my life. What he gave me is my life. Being a cook is getting a carrot, a potato, climbing a tree to lower a coconut, having contact with nature. I would tell the students that there is nothing that cannot be done. If the students are filled with it and have that feeling of “this is the best thing that has ever happened to me”, let them dedicate themselves to that«.
Santiago Lastra has his own YouTube channel which you can visit here.