Nieves Barragán Mohacho grew up in the Basque region of Spain, in the capital city of Bilbao. From a young age she was aware of food and cooking. Her mother spent most of her time looking after Nieves’s grandmother in the house and so to keep Nieves entertained she involved her in the kitchen’s daily activity. She began with simple things, peeling potatoes and stirring the contents of pans but progressed quickly and by the age of seven Nieves was roasting her own chicken. Nieves quickly understood there was an abundance of excellent local ingredients that surrounded her and a strong tradition of local cooking.
Nieves joined Sam & Eddie Hart and the team at Fino two months before the restaurant was due to open in early 2003. She started as sous chef and after four years was handed the reigns of the kitchen. In 2008 Sam & Eddie decided to return to their original plan of creating a London Cal Pep and found a site in Frith Street. When Barrafina opened shortly after Nieves was made Executive Head Chef and since then has looked after the kitchens of both Fino and Barrafina. In July this year Nieves set up a new kitchen at a second Barrafina in Covent Garden’s Adelaide Street. Her latest venture with the Hart brothers has allowed Nieves to expand her repertoire and the menu now includes more traditional and regional tapas, rarely seen in London before.
The key to Nieves’ success in her kitchens is to keep things original but remain faithful to the principles of regional Spanish cooking and to use incredible, meticulously sourced, seasonal produce.
In September 2014 Barrafina Frith Street was awarded a Michelin Star.
Describe your culinary philosophy in 4 words...
Simple, fresh, honest and seasonal
What is your greatest inspiration?
My childhood, growing up with my mother and grandmother and being with them all the time in the kitchen, it is always my inspiration. It was my entertainment as a child.
If you could take a plane ride to any restaurant in the world, just for one meal, where would you go?
Casa Paco in Cadiz, the freshest seafood you will ever eat.
What four things would you take to a desert island?
Fishing rod, olive oil, ginger Lilly Molton Brown body wash, a football
- Michelin star | Barrafina
33 Charlotte Street
(entrance on Rathbone Street)
+44 020 7813 8010