Soledad Nardelli confesses that her Best Meal Ever is the nut pudding her father has made for her every Sunday since she was a little girl. Chef Nardelli, who helms the Buenos Aires restaurant Chila, which ranked No. 21 on Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants 2015, typically has dinner with a big group of her Italian relatives every Sunday. “I enjoy these moments so much,” Nardelli said. “This is the reason why I am involved in cooking,” she added.
Nardelli started cooking at a young age, earning her diploma as a Culinary Art Specialist from Escuela Ibahrs then completing a graduate course at l’Ecole des Arts Culinaires et de l’Hotellerie in Lyon, France, and a restaurant administration course at Universidad de Alicante in Spain. Nardelli followed up her training with two years working in restaurants in Barcelona and Valencia.
In 2006, Nardelli opened Chila in the upmarket riverside district on Puerta Madera. Chila produces elegant dishes celebrating regional ingredients for which Nardelli travels extensively across the country searching to find. She hosts an award-winning television show about her travels to find Argentina’s most emblematic dishes and ingredients on the El Gourmet food network. “I believe that cooking is a way of expressing love,” Nardelli has said.
Nardelli’s three-course á la carte menu and seven-course tasting menu is inspired by local ingredients such as boga fish from the Paraná River and prawns from the Patagonian city of Puerto Madryn. Desserts are elegantly presented works of art such as dulce de leche soufflé. Nardelli describes her vision of cooking at Chila as based on curiosity, and on ongoing training and research. She describes the restaurant’s concept as product-producer cuisine, based on the chef’s dedication to a deep exploration of modern Argentinian cuisine with the purpose of developing a more comprehensive and renewed gastronomic experience.