Join Barrafina Chef Nieves Barragan Mohacho and #CookForSyria
Nieves Barragan Mohacho, the Executive Head Chef of Barrafina, has joined restaurateurs, chefs, bakers and café owners across the UK participating in #CookForSyria. During November, #CookForSyria participants are putting a “Syrian-inspired twist” on one of their favorite signature dishes or creating a new dish.
Mohacho will offer Grilled Quail with Green Harissa, Pomegranate and Date Sauce at Barrafina’s three locations. £2 from each dish sold will be donated to UNICEF UK's Children of Syria Fund.
Born in the Basque region of Spain, Mohacho was immersed in food and cooking from the time she could hold a spoon.
To entertain her daughter, Mohacho’s mother involved her in kitchen activities. Surrounded by an abundance of fresh produce and a strong tradition of local cooking, Mohacho quickly progressed from peeling potatoes and stirring pans to roasting a chicken by the age of 7.
By 21, Mohacho was eager to experience another culture. Without knowing a single word in English, she arrived in London.
She landed a job as junior sous chef at the French restaurant Simply Nico, where Mohacho’s culinary skills caught the attention of brothers Sam and Eddie Hart.
Considered the kings of the Soho food scene, the Hart brothers recognized there was little in the way of traditional Spanish food in London. When they decided to open Fino in early 2003, they asked Mohacho to come on board as sous chef. Four years later, they handed her the reins to the kitchen.
In 2008, Sam and Eddie launched Barrafina, a London version of Cal Pep, Barcelona’s world-famous tapas bar. They found a site on Frith Street and named Mohacho its Executive Head Chef. Hailed as a pioneer of Spanish cuisine in London, Barrafina won its first Michelin star in 2014.
The keys to Mohacho’s success: Keep things original, remain faithful to the principles of regional Spanish cooking and meticulously source seasonal produce.
That same year, Mohacho set up the kitchen at a second Barrafina on Adelaide Street in Covent Garden, where she expanded her repertoire to include more traditional and regional tapas.
In mid-2015, the Hart brothers opened a third Barrafina branch with Mohacho just down the road on Drury Lane.
Each restaurant has an open kitchen, stylish red leather stools and a beautiful marble-topped bar where guests can sit and watch the chefs at work. The a la carte menus, developed by Mohacho, feature authentic regional dishes from around Spain. There is also a daily changing specials menu. The wine list features the finest Spanish sherries, cavas and wines.
Along the way, Mohacho has racked up numerous awards and acclaims for introducing her taste of Spain to adoring fans in Great Britain.
In addition to her Michelin star, Mohacho and her team at Fino made the semifinals on Gordon Ramsay's "Best Restaurant" program in 2010. In 2015, “Restaurant Magazine” named Barrafina "National Restaurant of the Year,” a first for an establishment run by a female head chef.
Mohacho is among dozens of chefs and restaurants participating in #CookForSyria.
A nationwide fundraising initiative, #CookForSyria was created by influential Instagrammer Clerkenwell Boy in collaboration with SUITCASE magazine and NEXTGen London, UNICEF UK's young professional movement.
The campaign raises funds to help children caught in the ongoing conflict in Syria. The lives of more than 8 million children have been turned upside down by the brutal conflict. Many lost family, friends and schools and were forced to flee their homes with nothing but the clothes on their backs. These children face a bitter winter in refugee camps or on perilous journeys in search of safety. Without warm winter supplies, they will struggle to survive.
UNICEF is among the few humanitarian organizations working inside Syria, as well as helping Syrian child refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey, Egypt and Europe. UNICEF is providing these children with food, clean water and vaccines, education and protection from violence and abuse.
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