Cooking with Fire
Francis Mallmann, South America’s most celebrated chef, is hosting a pop-up event at CUT at 45 Park Lane this October. Ahead of his trip to London, he gives us a taste of what to expect. Trust us you won’t want to miss his bold Argentinian flavours.
London’s latest pop-up
I’m really looking forward to cooking at CUT at 45 Park Lane. I’ve enjoyed dining there a couple of times, so to come back and be a part of what they’re doing is a real draw for me. As an Argentinian, I’m passionate about serving only the finest quality meat, something CUT is already famous for. What will be different is my own unique menu for the event and special way of preparing steak.
The king of fire
I’ve had a fascination with fire since I was a child. Growing up in Patagonia I spent a lot of time outside around a fire. It’s something I’ve always associated with happy times and eating well with family & friends. Today this still rings true for me and undoubtedly brings out special qualities in my cooking. Having classically trained in French haute cuisine, I became determined to find my direction and cooking with fire was instinctively what I chose.
The Argentine way
If you think about the Argentine gauchos on the pampas, their lives revolve around fire too. It’s how they cook all their meals. Their vegetables are particularly delicious as they cover things like sweet potatoes, bell peppers and beets in the fire’s ashes, cooking them gently until they are soft and smoky.
All in the timing
For me there are two ways to cook steak ‒ either really fast on a high heat or very, very slowly at a much lower temperature. The rib-eye I’ll be serving at the event will be cooked for ten hours to ensure it’s wonderfully tender. So when the menu says slow-cooked we really mean it! I’ve chosen to serve Rubia Gallega rib-eye steak, as this breed has the most incredible fat and flavour. You’ll also discover my own chimichurri sauce.
In addition to steak, one of my favourite things to eat is the humble potato. They seem such a simple ingredient but there are so many different varieties and lots of versatile ways to serve them. The key is to choose the right variety for how you intend to cook them. My pop-up menu will include smashed crusty Andean potato with smoked butter caviar; it’s one of my signature dishes.
What’s your secret?
The most important thing is patience, especially if you’re cooking steak the way I’ve described. I recommend pulling up a chair and grabbing a glass of wine so you can relax but keep a constant vigil on your cooking. I’m bringing my own grill and charcoal supplies to London to make sure I get the flavours and grilling technique just right. We’ve also arranged a selection of delicious red and white Argentinian wines from Bodega Catena Zapata to be served at the event.
Negroni is my favourite drink and the ones at BAR 45 are delicious, I really love their bittersweet structure. For this event though, I’m preparing my own version. Order one and see if you can guess my secret ingredient!
A memorable event
I think every meal should be about being together, taking your time and swapping stories. People remember how you made them feel as much as they remember the food. I trust the pop-up event will be enjoyable for all these reasons, do come and join us.