Chef Agustin Balbi at the age of 15 already knew he wanted to be a chef, thanks to his grandmother Lola who awakened his love for cooking. He studied at the best Argentinian culinary school, The BUE Trainers while working under Chef Thierry Pzonka in one of the best restaurants in Buenos Aires. He then moved to the US to work for chef Scott Boswell of Stella. However, the most significant influence on his cuisine was probably 5 years spent in Japan training with local masters.
According to Agustin Balbi, time spent learning in Japan helped him develop as a Chef and a person. He started to look at food with the eyes of a craftsman, pay more attention to details, and focused on pleasing people with his dishes.
The many meanings of “Andō”
Under the guidance of Chef Hideaki Matsuro, Chef Agustin Balbi opened HAKU – a place that uniquely combines Japanese and Spanish heritage. The concept itself sounds original and the restaurant didn’t disappoint – it has received many prestigious awards. As for his solo career – he opened his restaurant Andō, which also masterfully combines influences from these two countries.
The name is not without significance – the word “Andō” is not only a Spanish verb participle describing an action in the present but also comes from his surname Ferrando, while in Japanese (安東) it means peaceful east. Each of the dishes can be described as exciting, bold, and innovative. There are no cultural restrictions or rules here.
“My time in Tokyo has truly transformed the way I cook.”Agustin Balbi