Fer Rivarola

Chef of El Baqueano (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

A fish cook in meat heaven. Fer Rivarola is a bold Argentine chef who has set his mind on reconnecting his country’s cuisine with its coast and its ocean.

Rivarola’s goal is to introduce the 5,000km Argentine coastline, which has been underrepresented until now, into the country’s cooking. His project is ambitious and terroir food is an unnegotiable part of it.

With a fishing and hunting father, Rivarola was born in the countryside and grew up by the sea. This combination has never left him throughout his professional path. As an Argentinian chef who never forgets about meat but focuses particularly on fish and seafood, Rivarola has become a major name in today’s Argentine food culture through his restaurant – El Baqueano – in Buenos Aires’ San Telmo neighbourhood.

Trained under the guidance Argentinean and French teachers, he took a leap to Europe, first landing in Italy and quickly moving on to  Spain where, as he acknowledges himself, he ended up spending seven years “by chance”, living and working in different towns around the country. During his Spanish journey, the experience that left the biggest mark took place in Andalusia where he discovered the importance of seafood and mastered its traditional recipes. Still in Spain, he also learned contemporary game cuisine during his stay with the Lera family.

On his return to Argentina in 2008, he and his wife, the sommelier Gabriela Lafuente, launched their personal project – El Baqueano –, a restaurant whose heart is set on bringing back the country’s local produce. Their philosophy focuses on working with small producers from Argentina’s 18 “ecoregions” and promote sustainability and fair trade.

Rivarola’s restlessness later drove him to start, again with Gabriela, the Cocina Sin Fronteras (“Kitchen without Borders”) project in 2013 aimed at generating synergies between Latin-American cooks and promoting plural cooking. Yet all this has not kept him away from his work in the kitchen, quite to the contrary. That same year he entered the World’s 50 Best list.

His latest adventure is Trashumante, a restaurant with the same philosophy as El Baqueano, which offers casual take-away food. 

Fer Rivarola