Santiago Lastra

Deeply tied to his roots, Santiago began his professional career in Mexico City at the age of 15. After graduating, he took off to Spain where he worked at the one Michelin-starred Europa in Pamplona. After returning to Mexico City for culinary school, he went back to spend 15 months working at the world-famous Mugaritz, outside of San Sebastian.

At the age of 24, Santiago bought a one-way ticket to Copenhagen and worked in many of the city’s best restaurants. There, Santiago was offered a position at Copenhagen’s prestigious Nordic Food Lab. In 2017, he was invited to launch Noma Mexico as project manager and Rene Redzepi’s right-hand man, where his primary responsibility was to source ingredients from small-scale producers based across the country. When the project ended, Santiago moved to London and dedicated his time to culinary research trips around the UK and Europe, whilst gathering inspiration for his debut restaurant KOL.

For the following two years, he cooked and collaborated with chefs in some of the best kitchens across the globe, in a total of 27 countries, earning the nickname ‘The Nomadic Chef’. KOL opened its doors in October 2020 and was awarded a Michelin star just 18 months after, the first Mexican restaurant in the UK to be starred. so. A few months later, KOL ranked 20th at the UK National Restaurant Awards and made its first appearance on The World’s 50 Best List at #73.