Located in one of the remotest corners of Patagonia, Francis Mallmann’s island has no cellphone coverage or wifi, making it 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 a wooden cabin hemmed in by Lenga trees and in keeping with its wild surroundings. Inside, there is an air of simple elegance, shelves sagging with books, logs crackling in the hearth and three bright bedrooms replete with thick blankets and stunning lake views.
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 talent for cooking, charismatic Mallmann has been known to recite poetry as he cooks. He applies unique skills to the traditional Argentine grill, famously making 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 acute.
Mallmann shares his wild cooking secrets with a party of up to ten guests (though larger groups can be arranged at special request). He will impart his knowledge and passion while creating a range of specialities. At least one meal each day will be cooked over an open fire. Guests will learn to master embers, flames and smoke, transforming simple, local ingredients into delectable meals.
After cooking, gather round the fire to indulge in your creations, accompanied by Francis Mallmann’s favourite local wines. The opportunity to eat even the simplest of meals, like fresh lake trout baked in clay over an open fire, in this setting, is a truly memorable experience.
Cooking classes often take place 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. Hikes, boat trips and fly-fishing can all be easily arranged.
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.
Mallmann only opens his home to guests a few times a year, determined to ensure the experience remains exclusive and personal.
Fly from Buenos Aires to the Argentine port town of Comodoro Rivadavia (2 hours 30 mins). On arrival you will be greeted by a private driver and transferred through fields of roaming cattle to Lago La Plata (5 hours), before boarding a small boat for a 45 minute journey to the treasured private island of indomitable Argentine chef, Francis Mallmann.