Located in one of the remotest corners of Patagonia, Francis Mallmann’s island is backed by jagged mountains. With no cellphone coverage or wifi, it’s one of few places left on earth where disconnecting from the outside world is possible.
A rustic Patagonian home, La Soplada (meaning ‘blown away’) is in keeping with its wild surroundings. The wooden cabin is hemmed in by striking Lenga trees and overlooks Lago La Plata. Inside there is an air of simple elegance, shelves bursting with books and logs crackling in the hearth. The three bright bedrooms are replete with thick blankets, stunning lake views and private bathrooms.
But what about the man behind all of this?
Your Host for the Week
After leaving home at a tender age, Francis Mallmann opened his first restaurant at 18 and eventually found his way to the kitchens of Paris. The chef found his true calling once he began applying his skills to the traditional Argentine grill.
Known as much for his bohemian, nomadic lifestyle as for his culinary genius, charismatic Mallmann often recites poetry as he cooks. He applies unique skills to the traditional Argentine grill. Famously, he makes use of seven different types of fire for varying effects (techniques he has based a book and restaurant concept on). Not only is he a master of this chosen medium, but his attention to service and mise en scene is just as impressive.
Classes on Francis Mallmann’s Island
Mallmann shares his wild cooking secrets with a party of up to ten guests (though larger groups can be arranged at special request). World famous for his primal approach to cuisine, the master-chef embraces the traditional techniques of his Patagonian home. You’ll utilise fire, air, salt, meat and wine to craft a range of specialties, with careful guidance from Mallmann himself. Master embers, flames and smoke as you transform humble ingredients into delectable meals. At least once a day, a new and unique open-fire cooking lesson awaits you.
After cooking, gather round the fire to indulge in your creations, accompanied by Francis Mallmann’s favourite local wines. Even the simplest of meals, like fresh lake trout baked in clay over an open fire, in the magical setting of the Patagonian island, is a truly memorable experience.
Cooking classes often take place on the private island in advance of one of the meals, weather dependent. Each day a specialist mountain guide will lead an adventure, exploring the Patagonian surroundings. The island offers spectacular views of the Cerro El Gorro mountain peaks and beautiful, dense forests. We can easily arrange hikes, boat trips and fly-fishing.
In the evenings, peace reigns over the island. Generators provide light after dark so you can read with a glass of wine, curled up by the fire. Or sit out on the cabin porch wrapped in a thick poncho, to enjoy the stars.
Getting To The Island
Mallmann only opens his home to guests a few times a year, determined to ensure the experience remains exclusive and personal.
Firstly, fly from Buenos Aires to the Argentine port town of Comodoro Rivadavia (2 hours 30 mins). Upon arrival, a private driver will be waiting to greet you. Transfer through fields of roaming cattle to Lago La Plata (6 hours). Here, you board a small boat for a 45 minute journey to the treasured private island of the celebrity Argentine chef.