(World’s 50 Best Blog) Zero-waste pioneer, presenter of 12 television series, author of four books, mentor and official chef to the Latin Grammy Awards: these are some of the many hats that Argentine chef Dolli Irigoyen has worn over five decades. A household name in her homeland as well as on TV screens across the continent, Irigoyen is the winner of the Icon Award – part of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna – for her countless contributions to the culinary arts. But, while her career may sound glitzy, her story is far from it
When Dolli Irigoyen was growing up, using everything was one of the central tenets in her home. Her grandparents were first-generation immigrants from Spain’s Basque Country, France and Italy, and Irigoyen was born in General Las Heras, an agricultural town in the province of Buenos Aires. “It was an interesting mix with respect to gastronomic traditions and culture in each home,” she recalls. “My French grandfather was a true gourmand and he grew anything and everything in his orchard: pears, apples, figs, kumquats, strawberries and all kinds of vegetables.”
Her upbringing in Las Heras was akin to living in a pantry, as her Basque grandfather, meanwhile, ran a dairy farm. Irigoyen’s morning routine included fetching fresh milk for breakfast, hunting hare or gathering sweetcorn, watermelon or sunflower seeds grown by her father. Thus, respect for products was instilled in her from an early age. “I grew up surrounded by the aromas of bay leaf and rosemary, fruits and vegetables – it was basically a sin to buy parsley or spring onions from the store,” she says.
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