The World’s 50 Best Restaurants has awarded the title of Latin America’s Best Female Chef for 2020 to chef and food activist Narda Lepes of Narda Comedor, Buenos Aires.
A household name in her native Argentina, Lepes started her career in Paris, where she led two Japanese-inspired restaurants. A television producer as well as a chef, she has appeared as a judge on MasterChef Argentina and is also a published author.
At Narda Comedor, Lepes challenges the primacy of meat and particularly beef in Argentinian cuisine, and instead elevates vegetables and seasonal ingredients such as cauliflower, onion and legumes to a central position, with meat and meat-based broths to a supporting role.
A passionate food activist, an inclusive employer
Lepes works hard to ensure her ingredients come from responsibly managed farms, and vets her meat and vegetable providers to ensure they have sustainable and healthy practices in place. In a bid to be a more inclusive employer, Narda Comedor hires and trains women over 60 years of age to work front-of-house for lunch service.
The title of Latin America’s Best Female Chef for 2020 is much deserved for a chef who defies convention in a society famous for its machismo, and a cuisine famous for its beef. Lepes excels at doing things her own way and creating delicious, personal cuisine with goodness and notoriousness at its heart.
Lepes will be honoured at the virtual countdown of the list of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants 2020, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, on 3 December.
The award is the second of a series of special awards announced in advance of the virtual ceremony, which aims to support the sector across the region amid one of the most challenging times for the global restaurant industry.
The award follows the announcement of Janaina Rueda as the recipient of the American Express Icon Award – Latin America and precedes the announcements of the Miele One to Watch Award on 10 November and the Estrella Damm Chefs’ Choice Award on 17 November.
"It is an honour to be named Latin America’s Best Female Chef, especially in such difficult times for the industry,” said Lepes. “Now, more than ever, we need to learn from each other. I am proud of the human connections that we have fostered through our work at Narda Comedor and hope to continue inspiring the conversation around food."