Francis’ Island: Cooking with Fire in Patagonia

April 2020.


Food has the unique capacity to turn the “I” into a “We”.


On an island in the shadow of the Andes is a retreat, wild, remote and charming, that belongs to the renowned chef, Francis Mallmann.  La Isla has been Francis’ personal refuge for almost 40 years, a place he returns to as often as possible to find his space and peace, to be with family, to fish, to cook over an open fire, to play the guitar, to look at the stars.


Every season here offers its own joys, but the centerpiece of your 6-night stay on La Isla are fire cooking lessons with the Master.  The different fire methods – grill and griddle, fire pit, ash cooking, iron cross, little hell, cast iron cauldron and the dome – are all utilized according the weather and your preferences.  Other activities include fishing – both spoon casting and fly fishing – photography, walking, bird watching, snow shoeing in winter, yoga, massage and anything else you desire and for which we will find a specialist.  With no cell coverage, La Isla is also the perfect place to settle into yourself, to connect with family and friends, to read, play games, play music, ponder.




The journey to Lago La Plata is part of the experience and fuels the anticipation of arrival. There really is no other way to get to Mallmann’s La Isla than to fly south from Buenos Aires, drive 6 to 7 hours to the lake shore, and then boat across icy waters to the hideaway.


Once on the island, you will find six charming and cozy houses, each with its en suite private bathroom.  Decorated with Francis’ passion for textiles, comfortable seating and lovely linens, 3 are doubles, 2 can be double, tripled or twinned, 1 is a twin and 1 a single.  Only private groups are accepted.


While there is no cell service on island, there is a satellite phone for emergencies.



Your Guide

Francis Mallmann is a chef of world repute.  Born and raised during his early years in Patagonia, he struck out early on and has been cooking since then.  Known for his passion and creativity for fire cooking, his other talents are wide.  He loves poetry, playing the guitar, collecting textiles and beautiful objects that tell of the hand.  Most of all, he adores his family.



When to Go

La Isla is available all year round depending on Mallmann’s schedule.  Each season shares its own beauty and secrets.


La Isla is a wonderful setting for multi-generation experiences and a glorious setting for a celebration.



And After?

Depending on the time of year, you have all of Argentina, Chile and Uruguay to play with.  Mountains?  Cross the Andes.  Desert?  Head to Atacama in Chile’s North.  Cultural outings?  Start or end with Buenos Aires.  Wetlands?  Visit the Ibera wetlands, second largest in the world after Brazil’s Pantanal, in Argentina’s Northeast.  Beach? Come to Uruguay’s Jose Ignacio. Wine?  Mendoza, of course, and the chance to dine at Francis’ restaurant, 1884.



The Promise

You will see how others live by learning about their food: How to eat means how to live.