Santiago Lastra started in professional kitchens from the age of 15. He was working i global institutions such as San Sebastian’s Mugaritz. He has spent four years traveling the globe, accepting guest chef invitations at high-profile establishments including London’s Tate Modern and Hija de Sanchez in Copenhagen, before accepting an invitation to return to his homeland and launch NOMA Mexico as Project Manager in 2017. As Rene Redzepi’s right-hand man, Santiago spent the year researching and sourcing exceptional ingredients from unassuming small-scale producers across the country.
Authentic Mexican cuisine
After this experience, traveling and getting to know the traditions and personalities behind Mexican gastronomy, he realized that there were only a few examples of authentic Mexican cuisine in the world; so many restaurants overlooked the intangible elements that reveal its true quality.
The concept of KOL was born on a beach in Tulum, and shaped by a desire to be a part of the few who authentically represent Mexico. A cuisine rooted in tradition, but always evolving and adapting, holding the understanding of landscape, culture, and people at its core.
“I’ll Make the Mexican Sun Shine on London”
Within 18 months of opening, KOL has been met with national and international critical acclaim. Initially shying away from calls for ‘authenticity’, typically based on simple concepts of ingredients and technique, KOL was born from a desire to showcase the true authenticity of Mexican food. This is the culture, soul, and people behind the cuisine. Settling in London, KOL presents a new take on Mexican fare, anchored in an understanding of using simple flavors in bold combinations, to create dishes that deliver the bright, fresh notes of home.