Mallmann is well known for his featured appearance on the 2015 Netflix series Chefs Table. He has also written several best selling cookbooks, one of which “Seven Fires – Grilling the Argentinian Way” – is often referred to as the premier guidebook of the Argentine Asador Grilling Tradition. It includes fabulously inspired recipes that push the boundaries of live-fired cuisine. Patagonian born and trained in France’s top restaurants― Mallmann took a different approach to his food preparations abandoning the elitist dining scene for a more conventional and down to earth direction of cooking with fire. Over the years he has built a strong following of advocates and fans of his “Live Fire” cooking style, which also includes celebrities, such as Francis Ford Coppola, Madonna, and Ralph Lauren. It is a must read for all aspiring grillers seeking to take their grilling techniques to an all-new level.
His most recent cookbook released in 2014 is a best selling edition and one not to be missed, Mallmann on Fire: 100 Inspired Recipes to Grill Anytime, Anywhere. Anthony Bourdain describes Mallmann’s trailblazing live-fire cooking as “Elemental, fundamental, and delicious.” This passionate master of Argentinian cuisine takes you on a grilling adventure to destinations around the world serving up inspired regional grilled dishes that are simply out of this world. It is an epicurean journey where you will stop along the way to delishishly taste and learn.
Mallmann cooks with wood fires, which are in the traditional style of BBQ in Argentina, Asado. It is not just a way of cooking meat; it is an art form in which every chef has his own personal secret when it comes to arming the parrilla (grill) and preparing their own coveted Argentinian Asado. Grilled Meat is a part of the Argentine national identity. Mallmann explains that the Seven Fires are the techniques he grabbed from his country of Argentina and other parts of South America.
He was raised in Patagonia in a house that was ruled by fire. From that, he grabbed all that he could and started cooking. It took him 20 years to get back to his roots after his path as a top French chef. “I better start thinking about having my own language in cooking. There is so much more to do because fire is such a fragile and beautiful thing. People think that it’s a manly thing – fire and you burn things. But it’s on the contrary, very feminine. It’s fragile. I love it. I am learning a lot still.”
Mallmann has opened several restaurants of his own which are Patagonia Sur in Buenos Aires, 1884 Francis Mallman, in the wine region of Mendoza, Hotel and Restaurant Garzon in Uruguay and Los Fuegos by Francis Mallmann in Miami.
This sure to be dramatic experience the Napa Valley Wine Auction Celebration presented a once in a lifetime experience. Agustin F. Heneeus, proprietor of Quintessa and honorary chair of the 2016 event commented, “We could not think of a more perfect headlining chef for this year’s Auction Napa Valley than Chef Mallmann. Our Shared love for South America will not only shine through Francis’ food and innovative preparation but also throughout the week’s lively events.”
Recipe from the Seven Fires Cookbook:
Tournedos Wrapped in Bacon and Sage
I haven’t been able to take this dish off my menu since I served it at age nineteen in my first restaurant, in Bariloche. That place was called Nahuel Malal, “The Pelt of the Mountain Lion,” in honor of our rare Andean pumas. Some years ago, near my mountain cabin in Patagonia, my children Alexia and Francisco and I saw a pair of them at first light. Each night for the rest of our stay, we left food for them, and each morning it was gone.
4 strips slab bacon, cut 1⁄8 inch thick and about an inch wide, or 4 strips lightly smoked bacon
4 beef tournedos, cut 1 inch thick, about 5 ounces each (See note below)
16 fresh sage leaves
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place the bacon in a saucepan with 4 cups cold water, bring to a simmer, and blanch for 5 minutes. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.
Pat the tournedos dry. Wrap a strip of bacon around the circumference of each, evenly spacing 4 sage leaves in each bundle. Tie with kitchen string.
Heat a chapa or large cast-iron skillet over high heat until it starts to smoke and a drop of water sizzles on the surface. Sprinkle the tournedos with salt and pepper and stand them on their sides on the hot surface, so that the bacon is in contact with the hot pan. Cook, without moving them, for 11⁄2 to 2 minutes, until the bacon is well charred. Rotate the tournedos a quarter turn and cook until the bacon is crisped, then repeat two more times so the bacon is nicely crisped all around. Turn the tournedos to their flat sides and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Transfer to a platter and let rest for 3 minutes.
Remove the string, and serve the steak.
Note: Tournedos are steaks cut from the tenderloin, also known as filet mignon.
Excerpted from Seven Fires by Francis Mallmann (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2009.