Francisco Mandiola


"I finally combined the passions which would ultimately turn into my profession"


What made you want to become a chef?
At the end of the day, I think things ran into each other: I was very interested in art; I went to many restaurants from a very young age; over the years, I finally combined the passions which would ultimately turn into my profession.

What is your first memory of a dish that made you dream?
In Chile in the 80s, as I mentioned in the previous question, I went to many restaurants as my parents were fans of them, but there were very few at the time and, generally, the best known were French. But there was one product that marked me for life: urchins!

Who has influenced you in your cooking style or philosophy?
During my studies in New York, where I stayed to work, various people influenced me to a certain extent, but I think ultimately it was Charlie Trotter (QEPD), who did a great deal for modern cuisine and who I feel has not received the recognition he deserves for this.

What inspires you? or Where does your inspiration come from?
Inspirations hit from when you are walking down the street and see something and you want to reproduce or recreate it to moments in your life which you also want to reproduce or recreate. If we add the seasons to that, then you can achieve a lot - at least in my case.

What is your favourite culinary method or technique?
There are several, I do not have one favourite. It depends on what I want to achieve.

What is your favourite ingredient?
Cucumber... but there are many others, too!

What is your favourite cooking utensil?
A knife.

What material do you prefer for your pans and saucepans?
What Bergner uses.

What would you like to change about the cooking schools?
The teachers, at least over here.
Your advice for young chefs.
They must persevere and search for their singular and personal identity; not to be just one of the multitude.

What do you look for when you hire someone for your restaurant?
The best. That we have synergy and are looking for the same thing, the key to success.

How do you motivate your team?
By treating them well, news, dishes, dreams and good chats.

What would you like to change in the catering industry?
There are various items here, but I feel, in general, people are not paid as they should be and that has its own consequences.

What do you do when you have difficult guests?
I do not attend guests, but, in general, we try to turn the situation around through gestures...

Where do you like to get away to relax?

What pushes you to keep on going?
That you never stop learning and not believing in the fairytale - it is never enough.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
With the taster menus which are constantly changing and are our recommendation.

What is your favourite restaurant?
I cannot plump for just one; I believe there are many good ones and each of them represents what they want. I could name many.

Which current chef do you most admire and why?
Likewise, everyone has something, but I would have to go with someone who perhaps is a little like me in terms of style: for example, Thomas Keller whom I admire very much, though if you see our dishes they are completely different.

How do you think restaurants should be classified?
Good topic. Lists, for example, do not seem to be very reliable, or some which are rather...
However, to analyse restaurants well, I think you have to look at everything and not go only the once, but at least twice and without letting them know.