Nicolás AlcaláFOOD ARTIST

A life’s journey

I used to cook with my mother when I was six. I also made little animation films with my toys and a videocamera. I ended up choosing film over cooking and developed a career as a filmmaker. I created stories and crafted worlds, I directed companies and films. But one day… I realized the passion for cooking never went away. I kept gravitating towards it and enjoying my casual dinners for friends more than anything else.

While finishing my first feature film I created a secret pop-up restaurant during the weekends. We ended up having hundreds of people on the waiting list. I organized themed dinners wherever I went. I created stories around the food I was cooking…

So one day… I decided to quit everything, and start from the beginning. I finally became who I really was. A chef. A storyteller. A Mageiro.

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.

- Harriet van Horne -

The Mageiro

In Ancient Greece, Mageiros meant cook. But also butcher and priest. The word took its etymological root from “magic”. The Mageiros were the ritualists. The ones who killed the animals for sacred sacrifices, becoming messengers between the gods and the mortals through rituals and stories. They honored the spirits while feeding the guests a delicious feast. They celebrated life and the ineffable quality of getting together to touch upon the divine.

I think it’s time to bring this profession back (maybe without the killing), in a time of disconnection and individuality. It’s time to break bread together again. To create rituals around the food we eat. To tell stories next to the fire. To foster connection. To create wonder.

It’s time for the Ritualists and the Mageiros to remind us that magic can be real.

Food is everything we are. It’s an extension of nationalist feeling, ethnic feeling, your personal history, your province, your region, your tribe, your grandma. It’s inseparable from those from the get-go.

- Anthony Bourdain -

Cocina Sagrada means Sacred Cuisine. It’s the playground I created to co-create. A nomadic experiential restaurant that creates immersive experiences all around the world. A collective of incredible artists putting all their love for immersive experiences at the service of the guests. It’s fire spells and live music. It’s stories and awe. It’s ingredients and flavor. It’s connection. It’s squeezing life to the extent of our ability.

Curious? Click here to Follow the breadcrumbs. Let’s play together.

The future of gastronomy lies in restaurants with one table.

- Ferran Adrià -



Who am I as a chef?

I believe in fire and water like religion. I believe that flavor is the violent contrast of extremes. I believe in grounded dishes that root in tradition but also in furious creativity. Food should be honest above everything. It should be made with love and desire.

Cooking is a dance. It’s like sex, either you are present or it doesn’t work. Food is science and ancient knowledge. It’s ashes and perfumes.

I drink from many traditions, from my roots in Europe to my travels in Asia. I get inspired by the immigration stories of my family, from Ukraine to Argentina, East to West. I cook in harmony with nature, honoring her, playing with her, talking to her.

My food is smoky and contrasted. I use fruits like one more ingredient. I ferment with passion to transmute flavors.

I travel the world in the search of new, different, surprising. I combine ingredients in a delicate alchemic balance.

The Chef’s Apprentice

As I started to transition from a career in film to one creating immersive food experiences, I realized I had everything to learn. I started a project called The Chef’s Apprentice, as a way to connect with some of the chefs I admire the most. It’s a living creature, taking different shapes and forms, and looking for a partner to bring its first season to life. Here is the trailer. Click here for the whole pilot.