Santiago Lastra

For Santiago Lastra, a contemporary interpretation of the vibrancy and rich heritage of Mexican culture in KOL, cooking goes hand in hand with research. As much as ingredients and technique, Lastra’s dishes are inspired by science, technology and history.

More interested in becoming a mathematician than a chef, chef Lastra was more interested in competing in the Mathematical Olympiad, but his interest gradually shifted to food. At the age of 15, Santiago started working part-time at a local Italian restaurant, and after graduating from high school, he started working at the 1 Michelin-starred Europa Restaurant. After studying at the Instituto Arte Culinario Coronado, Lastra completed his master’s degree at the Basque Culinary Center.
After working with Andoni Aduriz at Mugaritz in San Sebastian, Lastra started a development course at the prestigious Nordic Food Lab at the University of Copenhagen, researching how to make tortillas using Nordic grains. The project was a great inspiration and Santiago started a series of pop-up events around the world – in 27 countries – cooking dishes inspired by Mexican recipes but using local ingredients.

Santiago Lastra, who has developed himself with his research over the years, learning and researching many cultures, opened KOL in 2020, combining the roots, culture and flavors of Mexico with the local products of Britain. KOL, the fruit of Santiago’s extraordinary career of culinary firsts, is ranked 23rd in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants List, 2023. In addition, the venue has been featured in La Liste and Michelin, as well as British publications, while chef Santiago Lastra was awarded Best Chef at the GQ Food and Drink Awards 2021. Lastra was also included in The Best Chef Awards Yucatan 2023 list.