Who is Santiago Lastra, the Mexican chef who received a Michelin star?

Mexico it is a mega-diverse country, proof of this is the culture and as part of the culture is the food, he knows this very well Santiago Lastra the representative of Mexican food to the world, as he won a Michelin star, something that very few can achieve and this is his story.

The michelin stars they are an international gastronomic institution, since they qualify and choose the best restaurants in the world, and now it was the turn of the Mexican chef Santiago Lastra for his work in the restaurant COLL located in London.

“Kol has just received a Michelin star”, they write on social networks in celebration with the entire team in a couple of photographs.

On Facebook, the restaurant’s page dedicated the following words: “We are incredibly honored to announce that KOL has been awarded a Michelin star.”

“A testament to the dedication, hard work and endless creativity of our team. From three years ago on a beach in Tulum, imagining what KOL could be, to being here in Marylebone with our wonderful team, this truly is a dream come true.”

While Santiago dedicated his achievement to his native country, “This is also for my country, Mexico, which deserves to be recognized a little more, and I hope this can help shine a light on the indigenous people, the traditional cooks and the family that They are my constant inspiration.”

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Without a doubt, this recognition that should be highly celebrated by Mexico, because the pride of its people and above all the flavor and culinary wisdom stands out before hundreds of cultures on the planet.

But who is behind all this? The question arises for lovers of food and cooking, who is Santiago Lastra, the man who brought Mexican dishes to haute cuisine?

Chef Santiago Lastra has 15 years of experience, somewhat short compared to many chefs in the world, but enough to defend himself in global cuisine.

He tells in an interview with the magazine, Esquire Mexico, that his PASÓN was born one day when he was in Cuernavaca, Morelos.

«My house was not from the typical Mexican family scene, in which every day a different stew was made with recipes from my grandmother or relatives, so I loved going to my friends’ houses to try their family’s» .

«One day, in the supermarket, I saw in the packaging of some cookies the recipe for a dressing of crab and I decided to prepare it. My family liked it and later I bought a book of Italian recipes. I cooked them all and they turned out surprisingly well, for not having had previous experience in the kitchen,” Santiago tells the magazine.

Without knowing what to study when he was in high school, it was thanks to that experience and with the support of his family that he decided to delve into that whole world. His grandparents, siblings, and parents encouraged his interest, so he worked in a local restaurant until he gained experience.

Shortly after, he managed to travel to Spain where he came to work at the Hotel Europa, without professional experience, without papers and without knowing Spanish cuisine.

It was that the chef Pilar Idote received him and welcomed him for two years, in which he saved to return to Mexico with the firm intention of studying gastronomy.

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After finishing her degree in Mexico, she decided to return to Spain first and then dedicated herself to discovering and traveling to different countries in Europe.

With that experience behind him, Santiago made his first independent gastronomic proposal at Carousel, a arise in the city of London.

«I lived with my suitcase traveling and cooking, in some cases they paid me, in others they only gave me the flight and lodging, but it was at this time when I began to take a little of Mexico around the world».

“I lived with my suitcase traveling and cooking, in some cases they paid me, in others they only gave me the flight and lodging, but it was at this time that I began to take a little of Mexico around the world,” he said in the interview.

Santiago defined that stage as one of the freest of his life and believes that it was in those moments that the beginnings of what would later become Kol took place.

Since he was working with the local ingredients of the places to which he traveled, always adding the Mexican touch that allowed him to make his culture known.

Kol was a reality until October 20, 2020, when it opened its doors and it was until February 16, 2022 that he was awarded the Michelin star, a dream come true for him and his team.

Just a few years since its inception, without a doubt a great achievement in such a short period of time compared to restaurants that have been trying for years, which speaks volumes for itself.

SLF