Chef Francis Mallmann: Dining is about friends not food

Chef Francis Mallmann: Dining is about friends not food

The Argentinian chef is set to open his debut London restaurant this year – and hopes to show London good dining out is about company and conversation

13 July 2017

Argentinian chef Francis Mallmann says he wants to show Londoners that the true pleasure of dining out is not the food and wine, but good company and conversation.

The 61-year-old world-renowned chef, who cooks almost all of his food on an open fire, is set to open his debut London restaurant this year. 

But the chef — who is friends with Guy Ritchie and David Beckham having cooked for them in 2016 — said his cuisine would not be the main focus. 

“I really believe that the only reason to sit down and have delicious food is to have conversations with your friends, family, lovers,” he said. “Food and wine can’t be the most important thing. The only reason is to sit down with friends, is to get food and wine to make you more witty and truthful. The food and wine is not the reason to be there.”

Mallmann, who was born in Buenos Aires, said he was keen for the relaxed lifestyle of Argentina to rub off on stressed-out Londoners, who often do not find time to sit down and enjoy their food. 

“What we have to show England is about lifestyle,” he said. “It is about sitting down and having something to eat. There is a huge beauty in that in my country. We actually sit down for lunch every day and dinner and, you know, we take time after lunch to stay and talk with friends. I love that. I am getting Londoners to sit down after lunch.” He said while he “wasn’t allowed to talk about many specifics” of the venue, it would include open fires and a large outdoor eating area: “We have sort of set up plans to make a restaurant in London. We’re looking at different sites. We have been working on this for two years. We are on a healthy path towards it.”

Mallman is to work with the organisers of the Into the Wild festival, a one-day food, drink and lifestyle event by Krug Champagne. It will take place on 29 July at The Grange, a Grade I listed 18th-century estate in Northington, Hampshire. Mallman will cook on fires made in sandpits and trenches, with each dish served with a paired Krug champagne. There will be also music and other entertainment. 

The Festival takes place from 4pm until midnight. Tickets are £395 per person or £750 a pair. For more information visit krugfestival.com

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